The official start to Hurricane Season was yesterday, June 1, 2014. Last year I had so much happen that I feel very lucky not to have to had any hurricanes even pose a threat.
This year, I’m taking stock and getting ready, not because I expect a hurricane but because emergency preparedness is an important life skill and one of the many “shoulds” I couldn’t manage last year. Last year was about making sure I got the have-tos done.
You don’t need to have a category 3 hurricane hit your home to find yourself in need of a battery at 3am. (Smoke detector seek and find is never a fun game.)
Having a houseful of sick kids is plenty of reason to break into the stash of food set aside for a big storm rather than dragging them out and infecting the rest of town. At least I find it’s better for my sanity, anyhow.
The important part is to remember to replace what you used the next time you are out. Get into the habit of checking your blackout pantry (And while we’re talking about blackout pantries, you do have a manual can opener, right? RIGHT?)
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season isn’t looking too active, but it doesn’t take a particularly active year to send a storm your way. Here is a quick reminder of what getting ready for a big storm looks like:
Be sure you and your family are safe should a storm make landfall. (Many of these apply to those living near fault lines or in tornado country who don’t have the benefit of prior warning.) Oh and if you’re a NYC resident, there is a pretty cool resource called Know Your Zone that has important information relevant to your location and storm preparedness.
- Check your insurance coverage. Do you have adequate protection from both wind and water? Are they with the same or competing companies? Keep these documents in a safe, dry place and remember to bring them along if you must evacuate.
- Have enough food and clean water for each family member to last at least 72 hours.
- one gallon of water per person per day
- rather than store lots of bottled water in my small home, I opt to keep an Aquapod on hand to fill.
- 2 drops of unscented Clorox bleach purifies one quart of water. This is a last resort if boiling is not an option. Let any particles settle out, filter using coffee filters, paper towels or a cloth, then add the bleach, stir or shake well, and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Your bleach must be at full strength, be sure to have a new, unopened bottle in your kit, rotate for a new one every three months.
- food should be ready to eat or require minimal preparation. Please don’t forget to have a manual can opener on hand. You may end up the most popular person on your block.
- Have propane or charcoal for your grill. And know how to use your grill.
- I’ve brewed coffee using a grill in the past. My neighbors loved me for it.
- NEVER use a grill indoors. The flames produce deadly, odorless carbon monoxide.
- Candles, batteries, flashlights, and a crank or battery operated radio are a must.
- Keep your gas tank filled at least half way at all times.
- Keep an emergency cash supply on hand, as ATMs do not work without power.
- Have an evacuation plan. Shelters are only for those in the most dire need, those who have nowhere else to go.
- Have a plan for Fido and Fluffy as well. Most shelters do not take pets, know what you are going to do before a warning has been announced. As a pet owner this is an important responsibility that is frequently overlooked.
- Have a well stocked first-aid kit.
- Keep all prescription medications filled and take them with you, if you must leave.
- If you live in a rural area, learn how to safely operate a chainsaw. This goes for you ladies, too.
- Own one, keep it in good condition, and have gasoline on hand.
- Have sturdy work gloves. Keep an extra pair with your emergency kit.
- Except for emergencies, stay put after a storm. Emergency personnel have enough to deal with: restoring utilities and rescuing those who were injured in the storm.
- Curfews may be established. Obey all law enforcement personnel.
- Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.
- Remember snakes and other wildlife may become disoriented after a storm. Watch where you step and never put your hands where you cannot see when removing storm debris.
What do you do to get ready for hurricanes? Anything at all?
Do you have any questions, I’d love to read them -now that I have my email account working again- send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.