I’ll never forget making a beeline for the supermarket during the early afternoon of September 11, 2001, to stock up on essentials like water and food.
The bridges and tunnels leading in and out of Manhattan, where I live and work, were closed. The subways and trains weren’t operating. Our phone service was spotty. The interminable lines at the supermarket checkouts were filled with thousands like me, who were completely unprepared for an emergency of such magnitude.
I didn’t learn my lesson. When a blackout crippled parts of the Northeast in brutal summer of 2003, we didn’t even have a proper flashlight or battery-operated radio. Even worse, my 80-year-old mother couldn’t go without sustenance in the wicked heat. My refrigerator was almost bare. Thank goodness, I made it to the store, seconds before it was closing.
Lisa Katzki, 53, has run into lots of people like I, during her career as a public health nurse. Determined to forearm us with the supplies we need to help get us through different types of emergencies, she launched ReadyCareCo.com. There we can find kits to call on for tornadoes, earthquakes, power outages, floods, and more.
“The PRE part of a PREPAREDNESS PLAN is the most important. DO IT NOW, before the disaster,” Lisa advises.
Perhaps the tagline for ReadyCareCo.com should be: “Forewarned is forearmed.”
What was the AHA moment that made you think of launching ReadyCareCo.com?
I first recognized the importance of emergency preparedness when my husband and I had to rescue a 12-year-old boy in San Francisco, who was having an asthma attack. I was hooked after that. My dad became paralyzed after having a flu shot and I remember being panicked that he wouldn’t make it out of the house if we had a fire.
While I was home raising young children in 2001, and updating my certification to teach first aid and CPR, the idea to start the company came to me.
Besides selling your kits, do you still teach safety classes?
I love the teaching part of nursing. I currently lead disaster preparedness classes and health and safety classes. I teach police and water department personnel.
What is the mission of ReadyCareCo.com?
It’s an all-encompassing emergency preparedness company committed to promoting health and wellness, safety and preparedness for both homes and businesses. We do this by being your single source for supplies, education and training. ReadyCare will work with you to create a customized plan to prepare your home or workplace for man-made, as well as natural disasters. We’re also committed to making health, safety and preparedness affordable.
We can’t be so confident that emergencies
only happen to others.
Tell us about your kits.
Our line of first aid and emergency and disaster preparedness kits are filled with with non-prescription products that you’ll need to keep yourself going so you can get back to life as quickly as possible, after a disaster, whatever that might me. I also explain to you WHY you need something, so you can improvise if you run out of it.
Are all your kits pre-made?
Although we offer pre-made kits on the website, they’re not for everyone. A lot of people know they need supplies, but don’t know exactly what to get, so I do one-on-one consultations, and create a kit based on their budget and specific needs.
Everyone has a different life, different budget, different allergies, different medical issues. Covering the basics is most important: Food, water, first aid, sanitation, communication, lighting, shelter and warmth. You also need to cover special needs, whether it’s pets, kids, allergies, ambulatory issues, or medical conditions. Cover all those and you’ll be on a good path if you’re on your own for, let’s say, 72 hours.
Five days passed before food and water showed up after Katrina. I want to teach people to be independent if there’s no power, no water, no police.
Are you going to go off into a corner, curl up and die or are you going to do what you can to keep you going?
What emergency supplies should a typical couple in their 50s and 60s have?
One of my favorite kits for one or two people is the Roll and Go Survival Kit. The kit includes a backpack, a large solar blanket, an FM radio with an LED flashlight, bloodstopper trauma dressing, and a personal water filter.
You can always add more water, which takes precedence over anything else. The kit can be carried on your back, easily put it the car, or rolled.
What are some questions you ask and recommendations you make during your one-on-one consults?
I always ask how many days someone wants to eat after a disaster and usually recommend a two-week supply of water and a week’s supply of food. The Coast Guard recommends food bars that provide 800 calories a day, but I don’t think that’s enough. If you don’t want to be that hungry, plan for more. I recommend 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day for most people, so you don’t feel you’re starving and feeling crabby and miserable, irritable and panicked during a disaster. That doesn’t promote good health for anyone.
I don’t recommend candles because they’re too much of a safety hazard. I prefer 12-hour glow sticks. Although they’re not terribly powerful, they can still help you.
I like to recommend little toilet setups.
Remember to include your pets in your plan. They want to eat their own stuff. Plan for it now.
What do you charge for consultations?
I don’t charge for the consulting service; I hope that people buy the products from me.
You sell a product called FRIO. Please tell us about it.
FRIO lets you keep medications cool, so you don’t need power, ice packs, or refrigeration. I started carrying it in 2001 and the business has been growing ever since. We are the contracted master distributor in the US. My husband, who is insulin dependent, works with me in the business. The product also is sold in CVS.
FRIO works for insulin and other medicines that have temperature sensitivity and it works for auto injectors which have to stay between 59 and 86 degrees.
If your sugar isn’t in control, it can be life changing. FRIO allows you to travel and live your life the way you want. You’re not tethered to a refrigerator. My husband panicked when we went through an earthquake in California in 1989 and so we started searching for a product.
After FRIO is soaked in water it keeps medicine cool for up to a month. It’s an awesome product and it’s made in Wales.