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Red Cross to Give Emergency Kits

The American Red Cross is helping military families prepare for the worst by handing out 1,500 free emergency preparedness kits Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bldg. 2303 in the parking area between the Commissary and Post Exchange along Gorgas Road.

Peter Macias, director of communications for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, said it’s a joint partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the Army Surgeon General and Fort Belvoir’s Army Community Service. He said the event serves as a springboard into the first full week of June, which is designated as Hurricane Preparedness Week across the country.

Among the items being handed out to families Saturday are a lantern; glow sticks; a solar-cell, hand-crank radio; first aid kit and safety guide; a multi-purpose tool and an emergency, five-gallon, collapsible water container. All together, Macias said it’s approximately $100 worth of supplies.

“It’s very important for families to be prepared. The idea is that this emergency kit can get a family through the first 72 hours of a natural disaster, like a flood, earthquake or hurricane,” he said. “When disaster strikes, there’s no time to go and get these things. There could be major damage to infrastructure and a whole list of other problems.”

Carol Janer, program manager for Belvoir’s Soldier and Family Readiness Program, said the kits are free to all active-duty, retired, veterans and DoD civilians with a military identification card. Families will be asked to sign a pledge stating their commitment to completing the build out of their emergency safety kit.

Macias said specialists from different organizations will also be on-hand to help families customize their kit and answer any questions. He said similar events are planned this year at three other CONUS locations, as well as at U.S. installations in Korea and Germany.