Give the gift of safety this Christmas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2002

Stumped for an idea about what gifts to buy for Christmas? Suffolk’s Emergency Management Coordinator Captain Jim Judkins has several suggestions that may not have the panache of a video game or the sparkle of fine jewelry, but for the person who has everything (and even for those who do not), they may hit the spot.

&uot;What better way to show your concern and care than to give a gift of safety?&uot; Judkins asked. &uot;You might just give a gift that could save the life of someone you love or a close friend or co-worker.&uot;

According to him, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has some of the best gifts around and while they are fairly inexpensive, they may prove to be invaluable.

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&uot;Take a smoke detector with extra batteries, and you have an excellent gift for a new homeowner or for someone who just doesn’t have a device in their home,&uot; said Judkins.

&uot;Also, a household fire extinguisher for the kitchen and all bedrooms is another good gift. Choose the five-pound, A-B-C type.&uot;

He also suggests, from the FEMA &uot;shopping list,&uot; a foldable ladder for evacuation of a second story in a fire, and a heavy-duty flashlight with extra batteries and a battery-powered lamp. Of course, a first aid kit is a must in any home or office.

Judkins has seen many instances of where a battery-powered radio with extra batteries was worth its weight in… well, maybe silver.

&uot;Also, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with a battery backup and tone-alert feature to receive weather and other emergency alerts is a great gift,&uot; he said.

&uot;And, along with having the radio that will help you prepare for a weather emergency, you can give a sturdy plastic tub filled with bottled water and non-perishable, high energy foods and canned goods. Of course, a camp stove or canned-heat stove, with extra fuel would go right along with that.&uot;

One truly unique idea; a year-long policy for flood insurance, and another, hurricane shutters or cut-to-order marine plywood and heavy nails to cover windows in the event of a storm, is sure to be a one of a kind gift.

Judkins would like for every person to have a winter car kit that includes emergency flares, shovel, windshield scraper, battery-powered radio, a flashlight, water, snacks, tow chain or rope, tire chains and fluorescent distress flag. All would make a great gift placed inside a large plastic tub to put in the trunk of a vehicle.

Another &uot;non-returnable&uot; gift might be providing a loved one with the services of a gardener to cut back combustible plants and vegetation from around a house that is vulnerable to wildfires.

And, for pet lovers, don’t forget to purchase supplies for a pet disaster kit, including food, bottled water,

leashes, toys, a plastic dish and carrying case or crate.

&uot;All the gifts FEMA suggests are excellent ways to give a gift that keeps on giving,&uot; he said. &uot;They are also gifts that could come in handy in the event we do have a weather emergency in Suffolk. I believe almost anyone would make use of any of these gifts.&uot;