Are You Ready?
September is emergency preparedness month, so it is a good time to take a moment to think about how you and your family can be ready for the unexpected. Most experts agree that having a written plan and knowing what you would do makes facing emergencies easier. Being prepared with the physical essentials will also make a difference. Don't wait until an emergency occurs, plan ahead for the best outcome!
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have recently ravaged Texas and Florida. Many residents were forced to leave their homes and belongings behind. Whenever an emergency occurs, store shelves are completely stripped bare of essentials. Bottled water and non perishable foods are often the first to go. If you are in an area affected by hurricanes, it is important to prepare for those specifically. What about other emergencies such as tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires or terrorism? Is there any way to prepare for all of these events?
Sign Up for Alerts
The answer is yes. Your first line of defense is keeping up on the latest news, especially in times of year when you know weather or wildfires are an issue in your area. You can download a number of different apps that have alerts such as the one from NOAA. You can also sign up for alerts on https://www.weather.gov/subscribe. Signing up for text alerts is probably the best route.
How to Stay in Touch During an Emergency
How do you stay in touch with family and friends during an emergency? Don't forget, if you don't have electricity, you can't charge your phone. One answer might be a quick post on Facebook letting everyone know you are alright and where you are headed and the route you will take. If you have access to your car, be sure to have a charger for your car. If you won't have access to a car, you might consider having a backup way to charge your phone in emergencies like a solar phone charger.
Emergency Water Supplies
However, without a doubt, the most important thing you will actually need during an emergency is clean drinkable water. Ready.gov suggests 1 gallon per day per person for drinking and sanitary use. We believe that 1 gallon would be the bare minimum and that most of the water will be used for drinking, especially if it is hot and there is no air conditioning. Having that much water prepared might be difficult. You can try to buy bottled water or store water in your home for emergency use. One great way to guarantee fresh water is to have an automatic home water distiller. The AquaNui and Pure Water brands have storage tanks, and some store as much as 15 gallons a day. If a hurricane or wildfire is on the way, you can easily pour the contents of the storage tank into clean jars or jugs approved for water storage. So, even if your electricity is out, you still have up to 15 gallons of fresh drinking water available for you and your family.
Your Basic Safety Kit
Other items that you will want to store in case of emergency would include flashlight, batteries, a radio, manual can opener, extra clothing, blankets and a first aid kit. In addition to that, you will want to have moist wipes, garbage bags and anything else you will need for your restroom needs. Don't forget other special items like contacts and glasses, pet food, water for your pet, medications or any special items and children, babies or senior citizens may require.
Ready.gov recommends that you store 3 days worth of water and 3 days worth of food. Considering the time it takes for rescuers to reach everyone, it's probably safer to store a week's worth of food and water. Some places like Texas and Florida have been so devastated by flooding recently that it has taken more than 3 days to reach some residents. Many have gone without power or basic necessities for many days.
If there is anything you should learn from this article it's that if you want to survive a natural disaster then you need to be prepared. FEMA, the National Guard, Red Cross and other organizations all do what they can, as soon as they can, but it is ultimately up to every adult to be responsible for themselves and their family members. If you have a solid plan, then you have time and options and most importantly the ones you love are safe and well.