WHAT'S YOUR PLAN? Commissaries offer savings on emergency supplies
NOTE: To see a DeCA video produced in 2018, a year after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, click here.
FORT LEE, Va. – In 2020, Mother Nature struck with a historical vengeance, recording 30 named storms – 13 of them hurricanes – to become one of the most active years ever. The storm tally even exhausted its list of names and ran well into the Greek alphabet.
This year, before prediction becomes reality, service members and their families can save money as they use their commissary benefit to purchase emergency supplies, said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the DeCA director.
“What’s your plan for the storm that knocks out the lights and closes the grocery stores?” Saucedo said. “Here’s a tip: Your commissary can help you save money while you prepare for that unexpected event.”
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 Accuweather forecast for 2021 calls for 16-20 named storms, seven to 10 of which will be hurricanes, with three to five of the hurricanes potentially being category 3 or higher. The spring tornado forecast, according to ustornadoes.com, is calling for a normal season.
Whether it’s Mother Nature or a manmade crisis, emergency preparedness officials encourage prior planning 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
- 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
“Being in the military community we advise our customers to be ready for any emergency, natural or manmade,” Saucedo said. “So make a plan, stay informed and remember to use your commissary to save money as you prepare.”
For more information about disaster preparedness, go to the DeCA website for lists of resources.
PHOTO CAPTION: Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, Store Director Bill Roger talks about items available at his commissary for customers to prepare for bad weather. Click here to see the video.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.