"Prepared, Not Scared": September is National Preparedness Month

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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - For many of us, keeping an up-to-date emergency kit is way in the back of our minds... until it hits home.

September is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA's focus this year is "prep on a budget". Spending wisely is important, but spending at all during a disaster can be problematic.

Wood County EMA Director Jeff Klein says that credit cards may not be the best thing to rely on in the aftermath. "When the power goes out, and you lose communication back to where their servers are, you often can't use your credit card. One of the things they're trying to emphasize this year is to have $400 worth of cash on hand.

That in itself is no small chunk of change, but the rest of your kit doesn't have to blow your budget. For one thing, experts recommend you have at least 7 days of food stored away that you don't have to keep cold or cook -- and while that can seem daunting, it is doable.

"A lot of people have cereal, a lot of people eat things like granola bars and protein bars etc," offers Klein. "You can buy a few extra of those at a time, stick them on a shelf in the basement and cycle through."

The usual flashlight, batteries and first aid round out most people's kits, though things like medication and glasses may fall by the wayside. Pet food and pet medication are also key things to consider.

Aside from kits, Klein also puts an emphasis on having insurance, citing that FEMA has a certain damage threshold to reach before they're deployed to a given area.

"You need $17 million of uninsured loss for FEMA to come in," he says. "When they do come in, the most you're going to get is about $34,000. When you think about what your house is worth, what your car is worth, you're not going to be able to replace it on the money they bring."

It's an ounce of prevention for a pound of cure to save life and property. For additional ideas on how to build your kit, visit Ready.gov.