Living on the Alabama Gulf Coast presents a seasonal problem. We have lots of hurricanes and lots of tornadoes during the summer. Living with my family of five children and husband demands special attention to how we prepare. In a few simple steps, you can be prepared too.
1. Keep a two week supply of food and water. Make a list of what your family likes to eat that can be canned, boxed or frozen. Keeping a two to three week supply of food in your pantry will not only feed your family when you can’t get to the store, but also give you peace of mind during natural disasters. The freezer isn’t the best place for all your food storage because most likely the electricity will be out for long periods of time, so think in terms of canned goods and boxed food.
When Ivan blew through, we were set with a month supply of food and we used our grill to cook since we had no electricity. Many others around us were not expecting to be without power for more than a few days so having at least a two week supply was life saving. The grocery stores were empty and losing cold food fast. I even froze several gallon sized containers in my big freezer to keep my fridge cool. Also know that fun snacks for children in ziplock bags are good to have as it calms them in the face of adversity. As tornadoes come up quickly, there isn’t a lot of time to prepare so always being stocked for an emergency is very important.
2. Be prepared to protect your home. Whether you live in a house or apartment, hurricane rain and winds are relentless. Finding covers for your widows is always wise and when the hurricane warnings come, use them for your home. We always put up window covers to our windows whenever a hurricane comes through.
3. Keep important documents safe. Since our homes are not always safe for paper documents, it is in the best interest to store insurance documents, birth, marriage, and death certificates along with other important papers in a safe waterproof container. Anything that is irreplaceable should be kept safe. Of course it is more difficult to keep pictures safe when there are hundreds all over the house but for the most part copies of your most precious pictures should be kept safe.
4. Keep an emergency kit on hand. For ten years before and ten years after the Y2K incident, there was a great cry for 72 hour kits. Now eleven years later, emergency preparedness experts are realizing that supplies enough for 72 hours is not enough. So the buzz words for emergency preparedness are “Emergency Kits”. Emergency kits are not just food and water but also bedding, extra clothes, flashlights, battery powered radio, toiletries, first aid kit and more. The idea is to have an emergency pack ready to go in case you had to leave in a hurry because of inclement weather or major catastrophe. I make up my emergency kits in back packs so everyone helps to carry something. Water and protein bars, trail mix and dried fruit are a good beginning for emergency kit food. There are numerous resources online to find the best list of what to pack in an emergency.
What is most important during times of crisis is to keep a positive attitude and not to worry so much. Safety should be priority number one. Making sure all of your family has food and water for two to three weeks will help the moral after a major storm and you will feel confident all will turn out well.