FEMA: Give the Gifts of Preparedness

Agency suggests Americans give each other items not normally found under the tree.

by / December 11, 2009
CPR practice Photo by Mark Wolfe/FEMA.

Photo: FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Jesse Munoz practices his CPR technique in a Red Cross training class. Photo by Mark Wolfe/FEMA.

Gift certificates have become common stocking stuffers; but what about gift certificates to CPR training classes? How happy would the average person be to open a Christmas gift hoping for the latest digital gizmo only to find a fire extinguisher instead?

Such holiday disappointments are exactly what FEMA is wishing for this year; not because they want to ruin the holiday season but because they want to save lives. On Dec. 9, FEMA unveiled its list of gift ideas. And while the list might not typical of those sent to the North Pole, it does feature some good suggestions and even a few geek-pleasing gadgets.

According to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, now is the best time to prepare for disaster since many families will be gathering together for extended periods, providing opportunities to formulate familywide emergency plans.

"Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere and the holiday season provides a great opportunity to ensure that you and your loved ones are taking simple steps to be prepared," said Fugate in an agency press release. "As families gather this holiday season, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and discuss what you would do in case of an emergency or disaster. The public is the most important member of our nation's emergency response team and the more the public does to be prepared, the more successful this team will be."

The agency suggested giving the following items as gifts this year:

  • disaster kits for homes, offices and autos (first aid kits; food, water and prescription medications for 72 hours; extra clothing, blankets and flashlights;
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios with extra batteries;
  • enrollment in a CPR or first-aid class;
  • smoke detectors;
  • fire extinguishers (for kitchen, garage, car, etc.);
  • foldable ladders for second-story escape in a fire;
  • car kits (emergency flares, shovels, flashlights and fluorescent distress flags);
  • pet disaster kits (food, water, leashes, dishes and carrying case or crate); and
  • battery-powered lamps.