If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of weeks in Texas – the weather is unpredictable and often catastrophic. With hurricane season officially under way, it’s a good time to put a plan in place now that will make sure you’re ready for any storm — any time of the year.
Plan for It
- Put it in writing with a FEMA Family Communication Plan. You’ll know where to meet if your family gets separated and have a single point of contact for locating all your loved ones. And when lines go down and traditional communication methods are lost, this plan can make all the difference.
- Create an evacuation plan. Ensure that you have enough time to gather your family and make it to a safe area. Also, know if you are in an evacuation zone or if you are advised to shelter-in-place. Adding extra traffic to the roads when not necessary can cause its own set of emergencies.
- Tailor your plan. Is your home prone to flooding? Are you along the coast? Do you have family members with special needs? Young children? Pets? Make sure you build a plan that makes accommodations for these situations and special circumstances.
- Do some homework. Can your home handle strong winds? Do your trees and shrubs need a trim? Are your gutters full of debris? Now’s a good time for some home improvement efforts.
Build A Kit
Make sure to get all of the following together and keep it stocked and refreshed like you would a first aid kit so that it’s always available and ready to go throughout the year. And make sure you store it in a place you can get to quickly and easily.
- Drinking Water – At least one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days in unbreakable containers. Children, nursing mothers and those who are sick will need more. Sealed bottled water is best for storage.
- Other Water – Food preparation and sanitation require another two quarts of water (minimum) per person daily.
- A manual can opener for food.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit: Adhesive bandages and sterile gauze pads of various sizes, germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves, adhesive tape, anti-bacterial ointment, antiseptic spray, cold packs, scissors, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, CPR breathing barrier, thermometer, and safety pins.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Toilet Paper
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
Other items that are not required but are nice to have include: games, books, cards, pens, pencils and paper. Crayons and colored pencils would also be good for kids.
Include special need items as well: formula, diapers, bottles and ointments for babies; dentures, and glasses for the older family members; jacket and blankets for cold weather; and medications or devices that you or your family must take or use on a daily basis.
By having a plan in place, with your emergency kit ready to go, you’ll be ready to weather the storm.