With Hurricane Erika looming in the Atlantic, it is about time we spoke about hurricane preparedness. Living in Florida, it is a reality that every year from June 1 through November 1 is “Hurricane Season” – and I am unfortunately not speaking of the delicious beverage that bears the same name.
During the first few years living here in the Sunshine state, I heard about hurricanes, and I believe we may have gotten some rain and winds, but thankfully nothing too severe. Then came Frances. We prepared and hunkered down with my parents and mother-in-law. I was newly pregnant with my oldest son. We told my mother-in-law that we were expecting over a candlelit dinner – the candlelight was not a mood-setter; it was because the power went out. From what I remember, the power was out for one day, not bad considering there were many without power for days.
Then came Wilma the next year in October. N was only six months old. We prepared once again, and I am so glad we did. Wilma did significant damage to our area. Trees down, flooding, no electricity for almost a week (and we were lucky – some people went WEEKS without power). Lines at the gas stations were hours long. Thankfully we prepared.
When I talk about preparing for a hurricane, it involves the following steps:
BE INFORMED – Stay tuned to the news. I check the National Hurricane Center’s website throughout the day when something pops up on the radar. Some people choose
MAKE A PLAN – Our plan includes:
- You are deciding how we are going to communicate with our out-of-state family. Nowadays, texting is easier than talking on the phone because you can create a “group text” and inform multiple people at once about your safety.
- Create a fire escape plan that has two ways out of each room.
- Choose a meeting spot near our home.
- Choose a meeting spot outside of our neighborhood.
- Fill out this Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids and keep it handy in their backpacks.
BUILD A KIT. Our hurricane preparedness kit includes:
- Extra batteries for all of our flashlights
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable foods
- All needed prescription medications
- First Aid kit
- Manual can opener
- Gasoline for the generator
- Extension cords
- Electric and battery-operated fans (electric ones will be plugged into the generator)
- …and more! Here is a very comprehensive list for adults and one for kids.
GET INVOLVED. If you have any elderly or people with disabilities in your neighborhood, see if you can help them prepare.
To get more information on how to make a family emergency communication plan, build a disaster supply kit, or to learn how to get involved in community preparedness, please visit Ready.gov/MyPlan.
I am hoping for the best with Hurricane Erika but preparing for the worst. It is much better to be over-prepared than under, right?!
Have you been through a disaster? If so, what did you do to prepare for it?