Windstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires are just a few examples of extreme weather events that occur throughout the United States on a regular basis. It is often difficult for even the experts to predict the impact and severity of these events. While the last thing anyone wants to think about is one of these events affecting them personally, it is very important to be prepared for a worst case scenario and have a plan in place. It is crucial to understand the area you live in and the potentially harmful events that could affect you and your community.
There is usually an alert broadcast notification of suspected severe weather. Pay attention to the news and if your area is predicted to be affected, plan accordingly. One of the largest and most common impacts on individuals and communities is a power failure. It’s smart to have a back-up generator and a supply of gas to power your home in the event power is lost for a significant amount of time and you are unable to travel.
There are some other basic steps you can take with your family to try and prepare as much as possible.
Make a plan and emergency kit with your family in the case of a severe weather event.
- Review the plan and kit on a yearly basis with everyone in your family.
- Write the plan down and keep it in an easily accessible place
- The plan should include the location of your emergency kit, meeting place if the family is separated or has to evacuate the residence, contact information for your local and state authorities, contact information for relatives in your area, and any short-term shelters set-up in your local community.
Have an emergency kit prepared and accessible. It should include:
- Water (at least one gallon per day per person)
- Food (at least a 3-day supply for each person)
- A battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio
- A working flashlight with extra batteries
- A first aid kit (including any medications necessary for you and your family members)
- A basic set of tools (screwdriver, plyers, wrench, matches, axe)
- Maps (that include multiple options for evacuation)
- Important documentation (including contact information for your insurance agent and providers, insurance cards, identification, bank account records, cash and/or travelers checks)
- Blankets/sleeping bags for each individual
- A change of warm clothes for each individual
- This kit should be kept in an air and water-tight container and should be able to be located and transported on a moment’s notice.
- It is also important to be aware of any special needs your family may have for small children, the elderly, or anyone with specific disabilities or handicaps. Be sure to make special preparations for those needs so they will be able to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
No one can be fully ready for a catastrophic loss or evacuation, but being as prepared as possible can put you in a better position, and allow you to leave quickly if necessary. It is important to remember, safety is key. The health and survival of you and your family are more important than any material possessions.
What steps have you taken in your home to prepare for severe weather? Share what special preparations you’ve made for your family in the comments below.
Sources: FEMA (official website of the Department of Homeland Security).