For some parts of the country, it’s hurricanes. For others, it may be mudslides, snow storms or tornadoes. No matter what weather might come your way, the question is:
What can I do to keep my family safe?
The best, easiest thing that you can be is prepared. That means putting together an action plan, now, before something happens.
A little planning goes a long way:
- Build an emergency kit: If you must leave, plan on a gallon of water per person, per day, for three days, plus a three-day supply of food that won’t spoil, and a can opener. (You’ll need a two-week supply if staying home.) Pack a battery or crank-powered radio, and a flashlight with extra batteries. Add a first aid kit, plus pain pills, like aspirin, and any doctor-prescribed medications that you currently take or might need. Include a whistle that you can blow for help, a dust mask, pre-moistened wipes and garbage bags. You’ll also want a wrench or pliers to turn off electricity and water. Pack local maps, plus cell phone chargers.
- Make a list: Jot down names, emails, plus cell and home numbers for everybody in your group. List key health info (allergies, meds, etc.). Make sure everybody knows how to text! It’s a good option if cell calls can’t get through.
- Know where to go: Decide on a local meeting place, a place to meet further away, and the final place that’s out of the “danger” zone. Talk about what you’ll do and where you’ll go ahead of time.
- Kids and pets: Teach kids how and when to call 911 for help. Talk to your vet about how best to keep your pets safe. A safety kit could include a carrier, leashes, food and water bowls, dry or canned food and water, towels, and plastic baggies to throw away waste. Take a picture of you and your pet in case you get separated.
Store it safely – out of the reach of kids or pets. Make sure medications do not need to stay cold. Spot-check kits every three months for items that have gone past their “best by” date. Have 911, the 24/7 U.S. Poison Control (1-800-222-1222), plus doctor and family numbers handy, too. Take a Red Cross first aid course – There’s nothing like being ready!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano