How to Prepare
Everyone needs to be prepared for an emergency. No matter where you live, it is important to be ready in case an emergency situation occurs. This can range from a simple power outage to a storm disaster such as a tornado, flood or hurricane. There are some emergency supplies that everyone should have on hand in case they are needed. Your emergency supplies should cover the gamut in order to sustain you and your family for a period of at least several days.
- Emergency Radio and Clock. Get an emergency radio that has a special weather and emergency band frequency. The radio will inform you of what is happening and can help you learn what to expect during a storm or emergency. This radio works on batteries, so be sure to keep fresh batteries in it and add spare batteries in your emergency supplies.
- Emergency Food Supplies. You and your family will undoubtedly need to eat while you’re holed up during an emergency. Keep in mind that in the worst possible scenario, you may be stranded for days. Include cans of food that don’t need to be heated and that last for a long time. (Be sure to include a can opener.) Include items such as canned meats and vegetables, as well as crackers. You can also get freeze-dried food supplies (such as those used for camping). Check the emergency food supplies yearly and replace old items with new ones. Also include some paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Water. Water is the most important item needed to sustain life for a long period of time. You can go without food for a few days if needed but you can’t live without water. The recommendation is to include at least one gallon of water per person per day, or a minimum of three gallons per person if you are making a kit for three days. Store the water in a cool, dark place. If you have a basement, you can keep your water and emergency supplies in a specific container or on a shelf.
- Flashlights. Include one flashlight per person. You can also add a larger lantern-style flashlight that is helpful for lighting an entire area. Include some batteries to use as a backup when the original batteries run out.
- Toiletries. Emergency supplies should include toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper, wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, baby diapers and feminine products. If you wear contact lenses, include a contact case and solution. Add garbage bags that can be used to put garbage in, but that also serve as a seating cover in case things are wet or dirty. Place wet or dirty clothes in them until you can wash them.
- First Aid Kit. This can be very important since the disaster may have caused injuries. A typical first aid kit should include bandages, topical antiseptic gel or liquid, a thermometer, burn medication and packaged band-aids.
- Medications. It’s important to include any regular medications in your emergency supplies kit. Take your current medications with you in your purse or backpack. Keep standard medications in with the emergency supplies. Include aspirin or non-aspirin, medication for allergies and medications for children.
- Bedding and Towels. Keep some blankets, sleeping bags and pillows in your emergency supplies bag so that you have a comfortable place to stay while you wait for the emergency to pass. Towels are necessary to wipe hands and faces, and to keep clean while hunkered down.
- Clothes. Include clothing for each person in your emergency supplies. Include clothes for both hot and cold situations. If it’s winter and the heat goes out, it can get very cold. Include coats, mittens, hats and gloves to help keep the warmth circulating. Put in simple plastic ponchos to protect from rain. Camping blankets or space blankets don’t take up much room but help keep people warm and protected.
- Toys and Games. Add something to do to keep both adults and children busy. A deck of cards and a coloring book with crayons are easy to put away and can help pass the time. Include a pad of paper and pen.
What you do before a hurricane strikes is as important as what you do during the actual hurricane. Whether you are called to evacuate or allowed to stay at home, there are several tasks you can do in advance to ensure you are well prepared. Take the time to review the hurricane safety advice listed below, and you will be one step closer to keeping your family safe and secure.
Have a family hurricane preparedness plan already in place:
- Determine the safest place in the home during a hurricane.
- Know the location of the nearest hurricane shelters in case evacuation is necessary.
- Plan out evacuation routes in advance.
- Choose a family member or friend from out of town as the point of contact.
- Make sure every family member is aware of these hurricane safety measures.
Create a hurricane safety kit and keep it in the safest part of your house (wherever your family plans to wait out a storm):
- Ask your physician if you can have an extra 7-day supply of prescription medication.
- Have at least a 3-7 day supply of non-perishable food items.
- Have at least 1 gallon of water per person for 3-7 days.
- Keep a well-stocked first aid kit nearby.
- Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
- Invest in an emergency radio (crank or battery operated).
- Store a few books or puzzles for the children.
Don’t forget your furry family members; planning for your pet’s safety is an important part of good hurricane preparedness too:
- Be sure your pets are up to date on all vaccinations and have the paperwork handy.
- Have a properly sized pet carrier in case of evacuation.
- Keep a recent photo of your pets.
- Bring all pets indoors well in advance of the storm.
- Keep additional food and medication on hand for each pet.
- All pets should wear a collar with an identification tag.
Hurricane safety also includes protecting your home:
- Board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood. For regularly hit coastal areas, hurricane preparedness may require a more permanent solution like storm shutters.
- Reduce roof damage by installing hurricane straps or clips that fasten the roof to the frame of your house.
- For additional hurricane safety, keep all trees well trimmed and the yard free of debris.
- Clear out gutters and drain spouts.
Hurricane safety begins well before a storm ever strikes. Families can work together to make certain all necessary steps have been taken to create the highest level of hurricane preparedness. A little effort goes a long way when keeping your home and loved ones safe in a storm.…