This year North America had a very active hurricane season leaving us to look back and ask the questions, what can we take away or do differently to prevent loss of life, excessive property damage and to ensure a quick recovery post-natural disaster. Having a plan prepared for the unlikely event of a disaster, with or without warning, can be a huge help when disaster strikes. After seeing the devastation brought on this year by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria it is clear that weather can be fierce and unpredictable.
Although we cannot control the weather, we can control our actions. Here are a few things we can be mindful of prior to the next massive weather event.
1. Evacuation Route (Flooding, Snow or Nuclear)
- Know the evacuation route and the proper road signs to look for when traveling.
- Identify your shelters and your final destination to reunite with family. Based on the type of emergency, the location and evacuation route may change.
- Contact your township for evacuation routes, local resources and emergency phone numbers.
- Print a copy of maps, locations and numbers in case of a power, cell tower or phone outage.
- Consider a practice drive and be sure to discuss the plan with your extended family so they know your plan.
2. Emergency Numbers/Plan
- Make sure you have all important phone numbers written out. If you lose power and your phone dies you want to make sure you have access to them. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to laminate them to protect from water damage.
- Have any valuables you want to keep protected from flooding? A tip that was floating around various news outlets says to put them in the dishwasher and lock it, since it is waterproof everything will stay dry.
3. Backup Radio/Batteries/Water/Food
- It’s impossible to know how long you will be without power during and after a natural disaster, so make sure you have extra batteries stored in a high, dry place.
- Fill your bathtubs and sinks with water before a storm, as well as filling up large gallon ziploc bags of water and putting them in the freezer. It will help food stay cool as it melts and be fresh drinking water.
- Knowing that food in the fridge or freezer could go bad if the power goes out, make sure to stock up on non-perishable foods that require little preparation or cooking.
- Make sure you have a few radios that are either battery operated or hand powered so you can stay informed throughout.
- Consider buying a satellite phone in case the cell towers are down for extended periods of time and you want to contact loved ones.
Hopefully, we will never see as devastating of a hurricane season again as we have in 2017, but if we do, I hope that people are able to be prepared for all of the disastrous possibilities that might happen.