Home Preparedness: Be ready for whatever comes your way
With Hurricane Dorian approaching the east coast of the U.S., we thought it would be a good time to review some practical tips on how you can make sure you're prepared for storms, power outages, and more.
Have A Plan
This seems pretty basic, but think about it: have you taken the time to write out and discuss a plan of action with your family in the event of a weather emergency, natural disaster, even a power outage? Make sure your family knows where supplies are located, where to go, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Establish a family meeting place and have your supplies located there. Maybe it's a basement, storm cellar, or other safe place in your home. Make sure you have something comfortable to sit on and lay down, like a cot, sleeping bags and pillows, in case you end up having to stay in this location for a prolonged period of time.
Practice Safety First
Storms often caused downed power lines, trees and limbs, and other safety concerns. Make sure you review with your family what to do if you come upon a live wire or if you're trapped by falling debris. Remember, stay away from live wires, and be mindful of any water that is around. Call your power provider ASAP and make sure you have that number written down somewhere in case cellular service and Internet are out.
Have a good first aid kit ready to go. Stock bandages, disposable sterile gloves, gauze, tweezers and scissors, cleansing wipes, distilled water, pain killers, and more.
Write down and store emergency numbers and key contacts in your family meeting place, and have a landline phone, walkie talkie or other way to reach emergency officials in case the phone lines, cellular reception, and the Internet are all out. Keep phone chargers stored here too.
Get Your Supplies Ready
Make sure you have the supplies you and your family need to survive a few days in your family meeting place. Bottled water, non perishable food, hand sanitizer, wipes, paper towels, and other practical items are great to have ready to go. Other things you may want to consider include a gas powered generator, helmets for your entire family, pet supplies and leashes (if needed), some tools in case you're trapped in your meeting place and need to cut your way out, utility gloves, whistles, masks, a can opener, batteries, flashlights, and possibly games and books for entertainment.
Our Favorite Tips
Over the years we've collected a few favorite tips for being prepared:
If you think the power is going to go out, freeze a cup of water, and after its frozen, set a coin on top. Keep your fridge CLOSED, and when the power comes back on, check and see where the coin is. If it's at the bottom of the cup, ALL of the food needs to be thrown out.
If you're worried about flooding, unplug all electronics and move them to the highest point in your home.
If you're not already using some sort of cloud storage or backup for important documents and photos, make that a priority. Those important memories and paperwork can be lost in an instant. Storing documents in a fire and water proof safe is highly recommended.
If you're worried about losing water, fill empty pitchers and jugs before the water goes out. You can even clean and fill bathtubs.
If you have pets, make sure you have a leash AND a carrier ready, along with any food and medications your pet may need.
If flooding is a concern in your area, make sure you have life jackets, even floats that you can access and use to get your family to safety.
If tornados are common in your area, make sure you have a weather app with a GREAT alert system, helmets, and a plan in place to take cover quickly.
Fire preparedness is important too - have your family's escape route planned and the rope ladders, whistles and other supplies you might need in their designated places.
These are just a few things you can do to be ready for whatever comes your way. Remember that the Red Cross has TONS of resources on their website, as well as government websites at national, state, and local levels with information to help you stay prepared.
Be safe, everyone!