Bad things happen. Examples abound around the world from the 2011 earthquake in Japan to Hurricane Katrina. They images are always shocking and they drive home one essential point: Every family should be prepared for a natural disaster. Mine is no exception. My wife and I have a disaster preparedness kit, an emergency plan, and an evacuation ready vehicle. We also maintain an awareness of the news and weather in order receive warning of an imminent disaster.
My personal disaster preparations for a natural disaster are focused on the disaster that is most likely in my region of the United States. We currently live in Florida and our most likely disaster is hurricanes. If you’re interested in sunshine, heat, and water, Florida is the place to be. Unfortunately, hurricanes love sunshine, heat, and water, too. Hurricane season runs from June through November each year. We take hurricane season seriously and try to prepare the best we can.
The foundation of our personal preparations is our hurricane kit. Authorities recommend that the maintain a kit that will allow us to get by for week without power or basic utilities. As hurricane season approaches, we build up a stockpile of bottled water and canned food. Our hurricane kit includes traditional supplies like candles, battery-powered lanterns, mechanical can-openers, reliable Maglite flashlights, battery-powered and hand-crank radios, tons of batteries, and first aid supplies in the event of a natural disaster.
An family emergency plan is the second tier of our natural disaster preparedness. We have all of our emergency contact numbers written down, programmed into cell phones, and stored on laptop computers. We also have the phone numbers of pet friendly hotels along our potential evacuation route. As we live in a hilly, inland, part of Florida’s Big Bend, it is unlikely that we would have to evacuate before a hurricane. However, we are ready to go in the face of a monstrous storm and we might evacuate simply to avoid the discomfort of the prolonged power and utility outages that might accompany a lesser storm. Experiencing a hurricane would also be scary in our cheap, new construction, apartment complex.
The third tier of our natural disaster preparations is a well-maintained evacuation ready vehicle. We have a mid-sized crossover SUV (a Toyota Highlander) and we keep it in good running order. This means we are pro-active in terms of required maintenance. We make sure we have good tires and gas in the tank during hurricane season. As a rule, we never let our vehicle drop below a 1/4 tank of gas because North Florida’s Big Bend region is rather rural and undeveloped. It would not be fun to run out of gas in this area. If a hurricane is active in the Gulf of Mexico, we make sure our tank is topped off and stays topped off. If necessary, we plan to evacuate across the state to Jacksonville or up into Georgia towards Atlanta.
Of course, my personal preparations for a natural disaster are not perfect. I need to buckle down and do a better job of taking a home inventory and maintaining portable travel-ready insurance records. Survival isn’t just about tucking away fun things like a huge 8-inch survival knife. In assessing the supplies we currently have for a hurricane, I’d say we need to build up a larger supply of non-perishable food, a larger stockpile of water, and some basic camping equipment in case a storm renders our apartment complex unlivable. We should also buy a traditional hurricane tracking chart in case we need to track named storms via radio reports after power is lost. We also need to get more serious about packing our bug out bags so that we are ready to go on a moment’s notice. I also need more information about what our community and apartment complex plan to do in the event of a hurricane.
Overall, my personal preparations for a natural disaster are underway. My wife and I know hurricane season is right around the corner. We’ll start budgeting and building up a better emergency supply kit on $10 a week. Is your family ready for natural disasters that may occur in your region?