Commissaries offer savings on emergency supplies

by Kevin L. Robinson
DeCA

FORT LEE, Va. – When a bad storm approaches, there are two types of people: those who are prepared and those who aren’t.

Commissary patrons can choose to be ready and use their commissary benefit to purchase emergency supplies, said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka N. O’Neal, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director.

“No one can predict or control the future, but you can best believe storms will come,” O’Neal said. “What you can control is how much of your pay you’ll save by using your commissary to be prepared for severe weather.”

Last year, many commissary patrons were hit by severe weather events such as those in North and South Carolina and Virginia with Hurricane Florence; in Florida for Hurricane Michael; or in the Far East, with devastating typhoons.

From April through Oct. 31, DeCA’s severe weather promotional package includes discounts on the following items: beef jerky and other assorted meat snacks, soup and chili mixes, canned goods, powdered milk, cereals, batteries, airtight bags, weather-ready flashlights, tape (all-weather, heavy-duty shipping and duct), first aid kits, lighters, matches, lanterns, candles, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. Specific items may vary from store to store.

The North Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 to Nov. 30 and covers the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Tornado season is April to July.

The Colorado State University forecast for 2019 predicts there will be 13 named storms, five of which will be hurricanes with two of the hurricanes potentially being category 3 or higher. Accuweather’s forecast is similar, predicting 12 to 14 tropical storms, and five to seven hurricanes with two to four being major hurricanes.

Tornadoes have made their mark thus far in 2019. In May alone more than 400 have been reported, according to the National Weather Service. Weather forecasters say more than 1,000 are expected this year alone – 9% more than 2018.

Be it hurricane, tornado or a manmade event, emergency preparedness officials recommend having a plan with a disaster supply kit that includes the following items:

  • Water – at least one gallon daily, per person (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
  • Nonperishable foods – canned meats, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, raisins, cereal, crackers, cookies, energy bars, granola, peanut butter, and foods for infants and the elderly (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home) 
  • Paper goods – writing paper, paper plates, paper towels and toilet paper
  • Writing utensils – pens, pencils (manual pencil sharpeners), markers
  • Cooking items – pots, pans, baking sheets, cooking utensils, charcoal, a grill and a manual can opener
  • First-aid kit – including bandages, medicines and prescription medications
  • Cleaning materials – bleach, sanitizing spray, and hand and laundry soap
  • Specialty foods – diet and low-calorie foods and drinks
  • Toiletries – personal hygiene items and moist wipes
  • Pet care items – food, water, muzzle, leash, carrier, medications, medical records, and identification and immunization tags
  • Lighting accessories – flashlights, batteries, candles and matches
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) 
  • Duct tape, scissors
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies) 
  • Cell phone with chargers 
  • Family and emergency contact information 
  • Extra cash 
  • Emergency blanket 
  • Maps of the area 
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

For more information about disaster preparedness, go to the DeCA website for lists of resources.

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