As I sit here jotting down my thoughts by hand, enjoying the sun shining through the window as my source of light, I’m reflecting on the many things I’m thankful for: the basics like clean running water, my family and friends, and certainly the very breath that I’m breathing. The recent storms and flooding in Oklahoma and Texas have made me appreciate what I have. Too many lives were lost in the recent storms and those deaths could have been prevented. We often get wrapped up in our own everyday expectations and forget to slow down. In our rush, we often end up making unwise choices.
The U.S. National Weather Service states that flooding is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities in the United States. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways; people underestimate the force and power of water when it’s moving. I can tell you from very recent observations that water can be deeper than you realize, can rise in a very short period of time and can cause damage (that you can’t see) to the road way. The quick decision to go ahead and drive on through could very well cost you your life. Go another route even if it’s longer, stay with a friend or family member, or even go to a hotel if you have to, but don’t make the mistake of driving through the water. The U.S. National Weather Service goes on to say that six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car and if the water is moving, it can wash that car away altogether.
Being prepared for any emergency is important. You should create an emergency kit to store in your vehicle. The Department of Motor Vehicles suggests keeping the following items in your car at all times:
- roadside flares
- first aid kit
- extra fuses
- flashlight with fresh/extra batteries
- Phillips and flat head screwdrivers
- tire inflator
- tire pressure gauge
- duct tape
- paper towels
- ice scraper
- triangle reflectors
- pocket knife
- bottled water
- granola or energy bars
For your home, I suggest keeping essential items like food, water, medication and important documents in an easy-to-reach place so you can grab it quickly if you hear about a potential weather-related emergency developing. Make a plan for each type of emergency such as a flood, fire, or severe weather and communicate that plan with your family members. Take action on your plan as soon as you’re aware of potential danger; don’t hesitate because seconds count. Planning ahead and common sense are essential in saving your life and the lives of others. What tips do you have for planning ahead for an emergency?