June begins a lot of things – summer vacations, pools opening…….and hurricane season. Hurricane Season kicked off just a few days ago and, while the 2014 hurricane season is expected to be lighter than recent years, it still needs to be taken seriously! While you can not stop a storm from happening, you can make sure that you are as prepared as you can be! Here are some tips on how to prepare and what you need to keep your family safe in the event of a hurricane.
Preparing For a Hurricane:
- Make sure you have talked to your family! We aren’t always home when disaster strikes. Make sure that you know where you are going to go and meet up. Don’t forget about your extended family! Choose a member of your family that in the event of an emergency that you can get in touch with to rely messages to other family members. This way, you only have one person to contact rather than trying to contact a large list. Make sure that everyone knows how to get in touch with your ‘messenger’.
- Create ICE cards for each member of the family. What is an ICE card? It stands for In Case Of Emergency. Put the card in your wallet or your child’s backpack. It should have full names, phone number of someone to contact and any important medical information. Also, add the phrase ‘in case of emergency’ in your cell phone with your person of contact!
- Know about your surroundings! What is the elevation of your home and community? Do you know evacuation routes? Are there any lakes, levees or rivers that could be hazardous to you and your home?
- If you have a home and room for some storage keep supplies to help prepare your home. In the event of a storm, you will have supplies on hand (and not have to worry about a shortage!) Precut boards (5/8 inch exterior grade or marine grade plywood) to fit your windows and have your supplies you will need to install.
- Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed. This will help keep them more wind resistant and reduce damage to your home
- Keep your gutters cleaned out.
- Have a place planned to bring any outdoor furniture or lawn items in.
While you know how to prepare for a hurricane, it is also important to build a hurricane emergency kit. What should be in your kit? Here are some items to get you started!
Items for Your Hurricane Emergency Kit:
- Water – You should have 1 gallon of water per person in your family. You should have at least 3 days worth of water, but 7 days is preferred. (Having a pack of water purification tablets is also a good idea!)
- Non-perishable food – Again, you should keep at least 3 days worth of food with many experts recommending 7 days. Some examples of things to bring include:
- Canned food (just don’t forget to include a can opener!)
- granola bars
- peanut butter crackers
- dried fruit
- tuna fish
- Just be sure to double check the expiration date!
- A First Aid Kit
- Crank Radio
- Rechargeable crank flashlight
- A spare set of keys
- Cash (small bills!)
- Toiletries (If you get free samples this is a perfect place to use them!)
- If you have a baby do not forget to add extra diapers, wipes and formula.
- Have pets? Make sure you have pet supplies!
- Important documents – make sure you have them in waterproof document holders! You should keep hold of insurance cards and policies, ID cards, medical information, etc.
It is easy to keep these things in a plastic tote with handles so that you can just grab it and go.
It’s also good to have a backpack for each member of the family with things like extra clothes, a blanket, pillow, and if you have children a few books or toys. That way if you have to evacuate you can grab your tote full of family supplies and backpacks with personal items.
Hopefully you will never have to use your emergency kits, but knowing that they are there can help you stay calm in the event of an emergency. Staying prepared can help keep everyone safe!
Lastly, the best way to stay safe is to listen to weather reports and evacuate when you are told to do so. Every year we see news reports about people being killed in a hurricane because they refused to leave their home. If you are told to evacuate – please evacuate.
Things can be replaced. You can’t!