Growing up on the Gulf Coast, we've seen our share of storms, and as a result, many are familiar with the necessary steps to take in order to prepare for a storm. However, some might grow complacent when storm predictions don't come to pass, and neglect to take safety precautions. Here's five things you can do to make sure you're prepared:
Create an Emergency Plan This is something that gets talked about after every natural disaster, but many don't consider before it's too late. Do you have an emergency plan? Does your family know what to do in case of an emergency? There are numerous resources available to help guide you in creating an emergency plan, and one of the most important components is establishing a means of communication between you and your loved ones in a time of emergency. Be sure your family has an emergency plan.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit When assembling your kit keep in mind that electricity, clean water, and other necessities may be unavailable following a storm. Be sure to have enough clean water on hand for at least 72 hours (the rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day). Another item that one might not consider, but could be particularly useful is a battery backup for your cellphone to give you additional time to communicate with emergency personnel or loved ones in case of a power outage. Other ideas to consider including in your kit can be found at Weather Underground.
Perform a Safety Check on your Home Walk around your home, and check that all your windows and doors are closed properly, and can be locked. Make sure any patio furniture, potted plants, etc. have been secured. In severe wind storms those items can become projectiles, and cause damage to surrounding property. For the same reason, don't forget to install those storm shutters if your house is equipped with them.
Stay Tuned to Emergency Broadcasting Weather can change suddenly and rapidly. Be sure to follow storm developments closely to best prepare yourself. While the local news and radio are the most common and effective ways to stay informed, Twitter is also a good resource for getting the most up-to-date info leading up to and following a storm.
Stay Positive! It's easy to panic when you don't have a plan, but with the necessary precautions taken, the worst of storms can be overcome. Sure, property can get damaged, and our lives can be disrupted momentarily, but what is most important is that we keep ourselves and our families safe.
Please stay inside and off the roads during the storm, and stay safe! Other helpful information can be found at Ready.Gov.