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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


This Holiday Season, Give the Unexpected

Author: Ashley Small, Public Affairs Specialist,Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 12/20/2013 9:09:00 AM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;

Author: Ashley Small, Public Affairs Specialist,Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

The holidays can be a busy time. Between work, school, holiday events with family and friends, and shopping for that perfect gift; there is little room to focus on emergency preparedness. For many, this is a season of holiday preparedness - but not necessarily emergency preparedness.

Yet being prepared can help protect health when it’s needed most. So this holiday season, while you are making a list and checking it twice; consider adding something unexpected to your list of gifts for love ones… consider giving them the gift of preparedness.

It’s important to be prepared during the winter. With the threat of extreme low temperatures and winter storms; having the right emergency supplies on hand can make all the difference in keeping safe, warm, and a maybe even little healthier this season.

Emergency preparedness items such as first-aid kits, battery-operated lamps and lanterns, hand-cranked radios, and solar charging units make great gifts and stocking stuffers for friends and family. Most of these items fall short of being on the everyday household shopping list, but in emergencies like prolonged power failure, they are invaluable.

Items such as shovels, ice scrapers, cell-phone chargers, booster cables, emergency flares, and portable blankets are excellent starter gifts to help build winter emergency car kits. Not only are they are handy when traveling in adverse weather; they serve as a simple reminder that preparedness is a way of life and no emergency is too big or too small to prepare for.

If buying gifts is not your thing, that’s okay. You can still give the gift of preparedness by just simply starting the conversation. Take a moment with your family and friends to talk about preparedness and how they can stay safe and healthy this season. Be sure to include tips on how to plan for older adults, pets, and handling chronic conditions that require medication, like diabetes.

For more information on building an emergency kit or starting a conversation about preparedness, check out CDC or

Have other thoughts on how you can make preparedness a part of this season? Please share them with us in a comment to the blog.


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