It’s important to have everything ready for when disaster strikes. Being prepared for a storm or natural disaster can make the difference of life or death. If you live in an area that is known for tropical storms and natural disasters, the best thing that you can do to keep yourself (and your family) safe is to have an emergency plan in place.
This plan will allow you to educate your family on where to go, what to do, and how to function during these tough times. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about storm preparedness.
Planning for an Emergency
These storms and disasters can be scary! It’s okay to be afraid, but that’s not going to help you get through it. Educating yourself on the dos and don’ts of storm preparedness will ensure that you are going to be okay.
Your emergency plan should extend to every person living in your home and then some. If you have an elderly person or a single mom with young children as neighbors, you may want to include them in your safety plans. It’s possible that they don’t have anyone close enough to help them out when disaster strikes.
What Should You Keep in Your Emergency Supplies Kit?
Your storm survival kit should be packed with all of the essentials that you might need during an order to stay at home or an evacuation:
- Clean water for drinking and cleaning
- Non-perishable foods
- Important documents (IDs, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc)
- Portable solar generator and gasoline
- Flashlights and candles
- Medicines and medical supplies
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- Blankets and sleeping bags
- Sanitary items/toiletries
- Games, puzzles, and other activities
Having an emergency supply kit ready for any type of storm or natural disaster ensures that you can provide safety measures for yourself and your family.
What Exactly Does This Entail?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing enough water-grade containers with at least one gallon of water per person per day that you might not have a clean water supply in a cool, dark place. FEMA also recommends having a three-day supply of food in case you are unable to leave the home or make a home-cooked meal during that time.
Keep a radio near you at all times during the storm. While you might think that your phone can stand up to the test of time, it does have limited battery life. Once it is dead, you’ll need a more reliable source of information. Your radio will keep you updated on what is happening outside of your home. It will also let you know when it is safe to leave your home once the storm subsides.
Regardless of where you live, you will want to keep sleeping bags and blankets on hand. However, if you live in a cooler climate, you should plan to have an additional change of clothes, socks, and underwear for everyone to help keep your family clean and warm.
It’s possible that once you can venture out of the home that credit cards and ATMs are temporarily obsolete. Having enough cash for transactions for a few days is crucial to buying anything following a tropical storm or natural disaster.
You want to keep all of this stuff where it is easily accessible to take it to where you will be sheltering or to transport it to the car when the time comes to evacuate.
Stocking up on Supplies
If you live in or are moving to an area where you are experiencing hurricane or tornado season for the first time, you want to stock up on all of these supplies before the season starts. You will want to be prepared to shelter in place or evacuate at a few moment’s notice.
Sheltering in Place
When you are preparing to shelter in place during a tropical storm or natural disaster, there are a few things that you might want to do before taking your emergency supplies to your safe space before the storm hits.
You will want to tidy up the yard and store away any outdoor equipment that can be blown away in strong winds or swept away in the flooding. Make sure to cover the windows and entryways to prevent the glass from shattering inside the home.
It’s a good idea to replace the batteries in your CO detectors and smoke detectors so that you can get out of the home safely in the event of a carbon monoxide leak or a fire.
In addition to your stored water for drinking, you want to fill sinks and tubs with additional water sources for washing up and cleaning dishes.
Once you’ve completed these things, you will want to be prepared to turn off the power source to the house. Unplug all appliances, and turn off the electricity, water, and gas.
Remember to stay inside, away from the windows (in a windowless room or closet), and be prepared to receive a notice for evacuation.
Evacuating the Area
Stay-at-home orders come into play when it’s not safe to drive. However, evacuations do happen, so you need to prepare for that. When it comes to preparing the car for an evacuation, you need to:
- Fill the gas tank
- Get it under some type of roofing or shelter
- Place your emergency kit in the trunk or back seat
Always listen to an evacuation order—it’s not worth the risk to your health and safety to try to stay in your home when a natural disaster strikes. When the time comes, you want to grab your emergency supply kit, turn off the utilities in your home, and head out. Don’t try to take less populated roads. There is a chance that these roads are flooded somewhere down the line.
Storm Preparedness: The Difference Between Life and Death
Living through a natural disaster can be terrifying and, in some cases, deadly. However, having some semblance of storm preparedness will make surviving the storm much simpler.
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