Dealing with the Storm
Dealing with the Storm
In the event of a flood or hurricane, preparation is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your belongings. Knowing how and where to access up-to-date disaster information, assembling supplies, and creating an evacuation plan are important components of disaster safety and are steps that should be taken before an emergency strikes.
Whenever a disaster occurs there is an immense amount of confusion, especially for those caught in the middle of it. Getting accurate and up-to-date information can save lives. Information is needed to make good decisions such as strength and duration of the emergency, which routes and areas are closed, and if evacuation is necessary.
Compile a list of emergency news sources before hand. The National Weather Service website (https://www.weather.gov/) offers alerts and advisories NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts local updates 24/7. Check for local tv and radio stations that offer updates during extreme weather.
It may be worth considering purchasing an emergency weather radio. There are numerous brands that are solar and crank powered in case of battery or power failure. Stations offer updates on storm status and evacuation routes and procedures.
Gather Disaster Supplies
Once flooding is forecast, it’s imperative to assemble any supplies you may need to outlast the emergency. That includes: Clean water; purchase bottled water or fill containers with water Non-refrigerated foods that don’t need to be cooked Batteries Portable cell phone chargers Flashlights/lanterns and a battery powered radio Cash Any medications and first aid Extra clothing Toiletries and diapers Important documents like insurance paperwork, medical records etc.
Be sure to protect your property and valuables. Move your furniture to higher levels and bring loose outdoor objects inside like garbage cans, patio furniture, etc. Unplug all appliances and bring potentially hazardous material to high levels (paint, cleaning supplies etc.).
Know Your Evacuation Plan
Set up an evacuation plan with your family. Establish several locations you could go to in the event of an emergency such as a friend or family member’s house, public shelter, hotel etc. Give yourself options; choose places that are in different directions in case a route is impassable. Remember to take pets into account and be sure you have a full tank of gas.
Designate an emergency contact who lives outside of the emergency zone and make sure everyone in your household has their number.
Identify a re-unification point in case you and your family are separated. Maintain several ways to communicate like cell phones, radios etc. Assemble necessary disaster supplies like food, water, radios, first aid, and cash into travel bags.
Most importantly, know when to evacuate. If there is plenty of warning, like in the case of a hurricane, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Listen to instructions given by officials. If they are advising evacuations, don’t wait.
Follow advised routes, if they are given. Do not try to take shortcuts as they may be dangerous. And never attempt to pass water that is more than a few inches deep; cars can be swept away much more easily than you’d expect.
Remember, preparation and information are the most important parts of getting through a disaster. Establish your news sources beforehand and how you will access them, assemble your emergency supplies, and know your evacuation procedures. Staying calm during the chaos and making informed decisions will help protect your family and your livelihoods.