With the exception of a freak snow storm that hit Frederick, Maryland in February 2010, we are fortunate to live in an area not commonly overrun by natural disasters. 2004 was the last time central and western Maryland was affected by a widespread natural disaster; hurricane Frances, Ivan and Jeanne created tornado outbreaks and flooding.
Prior to moving to Maryland, we lived in natural disaster heaven, California (imagine, wildfires, earthquakes, threats of tsunami’s). Within months of moving, we were threatened by the San Diego wildfires of 2008. Looking back, we were far from prepared. You would think that after seeing natural disasters which shook our country to the core over the years, you would think we would play it safe and have a plan, especially now that we have a family to support.
It is kind of funny how our vehicles could probably withstand most natural disasters, maybe not an earthquake or fire, but they are prepared and ready. They are thoroughly maintained, have emergency roadside kits, spare tires and salt. Key, never allow my gas tank get below three quarters of a tank, I am known for letting the tank get down to fumes before I remember to fill it. Not wise when you live in hurricane country.
It is important for us to understand, we cannot take everything, only the essentials. Only take what is vital. What do you need to re-establish yourself if you were to lose everything? We purchased a fireproof safe, where we could store all our important family documents. We also purchased a hard drive with enough space to store all digital documents, photos and any other pertinent data that you may need.
If you have to flee an area due to forced evacuations, be sure to build a disaster preparation kit to support your entire family. According to buzzle.com, “Every disaster preparation kit should include food, water, and clothing. Non-perishable items like jars of peanut butter or fruit, granola bars, crackers, and canned goods should be packed in a box along with a large store of bottled water. Each family member should also pack an emergency bag with a few days of extra clothing and keep it near other kit materials. This way it can be easily picked up should a fast evacuation be called for.”
If your area is struck by a natural disaster where and you are able to remain in your home, be sure to have all the materials and supplies needed for an extended time. If you are able to afford a generator, be sure to purchase one that will support the load you will be placing on it. Make sure that you have enough fuel for the first few days until fuel stations reopen. Make sure you have enough batteries to run clocks and radios.
Remember that you are not always going to be 100 percent prepared, but ensuring you have the basics of survival is a start.
Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States
Fema, Are you ready?
Frederick County Health Department, Public Health Preparedness & Response
Building a Home Natural Disaster Preparation Kits