Hurricanes & Other Disasters
PLEASE BE PREPARED!
For A Hurricane, Storm, Tornado, Earthquake,
Fire And All Other Natural Disasters
Introduction- So happy to see you here checking out the important information below. The recommendations come from various sources and years of experience having to be fully prepared in advance to be able to work to help others during the disasters.
Unfortunately, many Lyme patients and chronically ill people are a bit slower moving around than they use to be. They can have some good and then unexpected worse days to deal with, and/or may be immobile. Many are generally unable to clearly focus when it is necessary, especially when stressed.
This is a preparation and friendly reminder list for those who could use a helping hand prior to, during and after emergency situations. It may seem overwhelming at first and it can be more than your budget will comfortably handle just to get yourself prepared. But, not to worry! Just do a little preparation at a time as you are able.
TIP- You might consider making a larger disaster kit for home use and a smaller one for your vehicle and/or workplace.
Me? I keep most everything in a vehicle or ready to be put in a vehicle because where I am located I'd be burnt toast if I didn't leave. It is definitely not safe here. I've had to evacuate about 5 times just in the past 6 years and may have to do it again this year.
TIP- Budget concerns? I understand all too well. To reduce your costs build your own kits by watching for sales on first aid and other supplies throughout the year. Watch for manufacturer's and other coupons to help save some money. By doing it this way (in lieu of a purchasing pre-packaged kits) you can build yourself less expensive, custom made kits that are better suited to your own needs.
Thank you for making preparations in advance!
Your effort might save your life some day
Or at least make some nasty disasters less disastrous!
2018 Tip of the Day
Inexpensive and bright for as small as they are. Can use a sticker to hold in place or the magnet that comes with them. Can be used year round. To make it easier for you, order them from Amazon! Takes 3 AAA batteries for this model. There are six separate LED lighting units in the box for under $20. (Verified purchase- me!)
Evacuate or Staying Home
Please Don't be Fooled! Remember Hurricane Sandy was referred to as "just a tropical storm" when it hit the USA. Never underestimate the power of any storm or disaster! Never think it won't or can't happen to you.
When tending to the injured and helping folks lost in the aftermath of a disaster with a heavy heart and while thinking quietly to myself, "why didn't they leave when they were told?", the first thing the victims usually say is something like.. "I didn't think it was going to be THIS bad."
Key words... I- DIDN'T- THINK!
No one who is seriously injured, killed or who has had their homes or businesses destroyed thought it would be "this bad" and, therefore, they are often lax on doing the preparation work. Huge mistake!
The best place to be during a disaster is not in it, or to be in or near its projected path. Plan to leave the area if a disaster is or can be predicted, even if there are no mandatory evacuations. Better safe than sorry!
Always leave ASAP if mandatory evacuations are issued! If your stubborn husband, or boss, or father-in-law, or grandma refuse to leave, as you are packing up your things please do your best to convince them to leave. If that doesn't work, waste no more time on them.
But, just before you leave them in place to fend for themselves, which is their decision to make no matter how bad of a decision it is, take a black magic marker and write their name and/or social security number on their arm for identification purposes later on.
Then sweetly say good bye and leave them in your dust. Do NOT let anyone try to convince you or guilt you into staying. You know better! Get out while the getting is good!
And who knows? A vacation in another State could be really nice this time of year. You should try to make arrangements for housing/shelter in advance with friends or relatives, especially if you are on a tight budget. Or go camping somewhere far from the approaching danger.
Go somewhere, just get going!
Shelters should always be considered a last resort! Trust me, they are not fun, restful or happy places and are not always safe. Often they were not built by people who planned the building to be a shelter.
And ready or not, once they close you can be "stuck" with no where to stay and no way to get home again. They may also be filled to capacity when you arrive, leaving you in a real jam.
TIP- The Red Cross has a website with open shelter locations listed. Click HERE for that information.
TIP- Please remember to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly. Know their plans before a disaster strikes too. Kindly assist them with their planning or transportation if needed.
In Advance of The Disaster...
Year Round Planning &
Things You Can Do
DO IT NOW, MISTER! Please never assume you can wait until a disaster is predicted, if it even can be, to start preparing. Expect the unexpected.
Sign up in advance to receive emergency emails and text messages from your local government alert system. Check with your County Commissioners office, your local sheriff or police department, etc. to see if they send out alerts. If not, ask what agency in your area sends them and sign up.
Develop a plan in advance for yourself and your family for all types of disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, winter storms, etc. Your advance preparations, even if not needed for "the big one", will make you much more comfortable and less panicked after a small-sized or near-miss disaster.
VERY IMPORTANT- Listen for weather updates and stay informed. The Weather Channel, at Weather.com on the internet or on your television, is usually very informative and prepared. Local stations can also be helpful if they have power and outside communications.
Ask a friend or relative to contact you if they hear of an upcoming situation that needs to be monitored, but don't depend totally on them.
You are responsible for you!
Know where you will meet up or who you will call to check in after a disaster strikes- someone that lives outside the area- in the event you and family/friends become separated.
TIP- Plan and practice (in advance) two ways out of your town or neighborhood in the event of an emergency. Keep maps of the surrounding area inside your vehicles in case you must leave your home quickly to head to an unknown destination.
TIP- Know exactly where shelters in your county and state are located. Unfortunately, often prior to a hurricane officials do not release the names of shelters they plan to open. Some officials (why I do not know???) wait until the last minute to let the public know where they can seek shelter.
A MUST DO- Make arrangements in advance for the elderly and others with special needs, such as those who depend on electrical life support, are injured in some way or who are feeling poorly.
A MUST- Post emergency phone numbers by all phones in your home and workplace for year-round use. Enter all of these numbers in your cell phones too. Don't depend solely on 911 to be able to handle all of the calls that come in during an emergency situation. They will be often overwhelmed responding to the increase in calls.
Charge cell phones and keep them charged. Consider purchasing a car and/or solar phone charger. (I recently purchased a new phone charger to use in a car for just under $6 on E-Bay.)
Be sure everyone has that list of important phone numbers with them to be able to reach out. Sometimes calls can come in, but can't get out of a disaster area, and vise-versa.
Please do NOT depend on getting phone numbers from a cell phone directory once power goes out and your battery is draining.
TIP- Plan to Text, NOT talk when using cell phones, before, during and after a disaster. First, you will save some battery power by texting and second, you will leave more lines open for true emergencies and the emergency workers.
Telephones- If you have a land line phone and jack in the house (that doesn't require electricity) that may also be helpful at some point. Land line phones can be purchased new or used (cheaply) at thrift stores, Salvation Army Stores, E-Bay, etc.
Protecting Your Personal Papers & Valuables
TIP- Check your insurance coverage annually and keep it up to date. Remember most homeowners policies do not cover floods. Contact www.FloodSmart.gov today for information about flood insurance.
Take photos of your possessions and store them with your important papers. Sending a copy of all of your paperwork to someone outside of your area ensures you will be able to access the necessary paperwork required after a disaster hits.
Scan and/or save important computer files and family photos by printing them out on paper, saving them on a disc or saving them on a back up devise. Keep the copies in a safe place (relative, friend, bank safe deposit box).
TIP- If you have a disability this 5 minute video may be helpful to watch.
TIP- Take basic first aid, CPR and/or disaster training classes. Often they are offered for free or at a low-cost thru the Red Cross, local hospitals and other agencies.
TIP- Examine your emergency supply kits twice a year. Use older supplies and replace them with newer items. Watch the expiration dates on foods and other items too.
Do not leave children alone at home. A disaster can strike at any time and having no one there can be the difference between life and death.
Never leave a child (or pet) in a closed vehicle. Again, NEVER leave a child or pet in a closed vehicle!
Practice a fire escape plan with the entire family at least twice a year. Also plan to have one twice a year at your place of business so everyone will be prepared.
Practice role playing what you and your family would do during a disaster. Do the same with fellow employees at your place of business.
Provide a whistle for each child (age appropriate) to signal for help in an emergency situation. Be sure they know it is NOT a play toy and should not be used unless there is a problem.
Have a full stock of diapers, diaper supplies, baby food, bottles, clothing, formula and accessories if you have young children. Pack a three day supply (minimum) in a bag to take with you if you must leave quickly.
Pack a few of the child's favorite (quiet) toys to help comfort them during a disaster.
TIP- A small pop up tent and headphones can be useful to help protect children from some of the sites and sounds (reduce visual & auditory stimulation) after a disaster.
Have some sanitary wipes packed to clean kids hands and toys if staying in a shelter with others who may be ill. (There may be no safe drinking water available or even water to wash hands.)
Have all prescription medications and children's first-aid items in your bag ready to go.
Children- Additional Information
Pets- Concerns & Suggestions
Please make plans in advance for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets, but please do check around. Some are adding this service as an option for pet owners- and again, only as a last resort.
Best Scenario- contact your vet and/or local pet shelters to reserve a place for your loved one before a disaster hits. Get a copy of their rules and regulations and read them in advance so you are prepared.
Most shelters will require proof of up-to-date vaccinations. No exceptions, and please don't bother trying to talk the staff (often volunteers) out of abiding by the rules. You will only be wasting everyone's time and making a bad situation worse if you do.
TIP- Place all pet related documents in water tight plastic bags and keep them with you. Be sure to have your vets name and contact information in the bag. It would be nice to have an extra copy of these items to leave with your pet at a shelter if you will be separated (and they may be required).
Make a Pet Disaster Duffle Bag. Content suggestions/reminders are shared below.
Please be sure to ID your pet. Make sure pet’s tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to their collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag could be his ticket home to you.
Some pets have a chip for identification purposes. Still, put a tag on your pets. You don't know if a near-by neighbor will find your lost one (which could be someone without a scanner to read the chip so your pet can be returned quickly), or because there is no scanner available, someone in another state will be responsible for holding your pet until they can find the owner.
Take current photos of your pet for identification purposes. You should also have photos of you and your pet together. If you all become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help document ownership. Include detailed information about species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics along with these photos.
TIP- Securely tie or attach the bag with your pet's important papers to the outside of the pen or pet carrier.
Have a pet carrier and/or cage, and a leash and/or mussel ready to take with you.
TIP- You may want to consider paw protection in the event you must evacuate over broken glass and debris.
Pet Food & Water Supply- Have your pet's favorite food and extra water on hand. Keep at least a three day supply (minimum) packed and ready to go, or to have at home if you all are staying in place.
Be sure to put your pet's favorite toys, treats or bedding in your supply kit. Familiar items can help reduce the stress for your pet.
Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. Most pet first-aid kits should include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves (for you, not your pet), isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Include a pet first-aid reference book in the kit.
If your pets are taking medications keep an extra supply (for several days) in the duffle bag with the other pet supplies.
Include kitty litter and a clean litter box if appropriate.
Newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach can help provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.
TIP- You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water. Use 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water, stir well and let it stand for 30 minutes before use. Do not use scented or color-safe bleaches, or those with added cleaners.
RedRover- Helping pets during and after disasters, and to assist pet owners in a crisis.
Vehicles & Motorized Equipment
Transportation- If you do not have a vehicle to use to get out of a disaster area contact your family, or neighbors or your local emergency services. Do NOT use that excuse as a reason to stay in harms way!
Fill your car/truck gas tanks and have extra motor oil on hand. Check brake and other fluids. Be sure to fill the windshield wiper fluid container in advance and top off the radiator if needed.
Fill your tires with air to the recommended pressure. A can of Fix-A-Flat for your tires may come in handy when having to drive over and around roads and fields littered with construction or other debris. (Please read all instructions before using.)
Keep vehicles cleaned out at all times so you will have room for emergency supplies to be added when the time comes.
Fill your motorized equipment`s gas tanks (lawn mowers, chainsaws, tractors, etc.) and additional gas containers.
*Use certified approved containers only to store gasoline.
Boats- Make arrangements with your local marina and be prepared to moor your boat securely well in advance of a tropical storm or hurricane.
You'll Need Some Money Honey
Cash, Checks, Debit and Credit Cards- Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods of time after a disaster (no electricity- no employees, etc.). Have a supply of cash (especially small bills) and change ready in advance. Some change may be needed to pay for car washes (once the electricity comes back on), soda/snack machines, newspaper boxes and the local laundry mat if it is operating (some use gas appliances instead of electric and can be opened shortly after a disaster).
Outdoor Considerations & Planning
Keep your propane tank for your outdoor BBQ filled so you can cook and heat water outside if there is no power.
A MUST- Never use a propane grill indoors! (Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill.)
Clear your yard of all loose objects and keep it cleared as much as possible.
Take all trash and rubbish and recyclables to the landfill before a storm approaches to prevent it from becoming scattered or a missile in strong winds. You may not be able to get to the landfill or have trash removal services for a few weeks or even longer.
Don`t forget your potted plants! Have a water supply set aside specifically for your plants and water them just before the storm hits.
If you have a chain saw make sure it is in good working order. An extra blade, oil and gasoline can come in handy. Of course, also check your safety gear- hard hat, ear protection, boots, gloves and safety goggles too.
TIP- Trim your trees and bushes in advance to make them more wind resistant and less likely to be blown down. If you are unable to do this for yourself, you can ask a neighbor to help or hire someone to do it for you.
A MUST- Turn off all propane tanks before the storm hits to help prevent indoor and outdoor leaks.
Close all windows and shutters. Plan to board up windows and doors that have no additional covering.
Be sure rain gutters and drains are kept clear and free flowing.
Have garden hoses available that will reach to all areas of your home (inside and out) in the event of an approaching wildfire.
Plant fire resistant shrubs when possible. List of some choices here.
Build stone walls or brick fences instead of wood for some added protection from fires.
Keep lawns and areas close to your home free of debris, fallen limbs, dead leaves, etc. to help reduce the fire hazard risk. Double bonus- it also helps reduce tick populations.
TIP- Reinforced garage doors can help protect from your home from wind damage.
Indoor Preparations & Considerations
Fill your freezer and refrigerator full. The more items stored in them, the colder all items will stay if the electricity goes out.
TIP- The fun part of preparing for a disaster- you get to eat all the ice cream before an approaching storm hits! It will typically be the first thing to melt and will make a mess that you don't want to deal with later- so go ahead and eat it!
TIP- Put more expensive items (meats, for example) lower in the freezer where it is colder, and the least expensive items near the top.
TIP- Set your freezer to its lowest setting at least 24 hours before the storm hits- 48 hours would be even better.
ICE IS NICE! In hot, humid weather ice is really nice! It will be in very short supply, so please have more than you think you will need. It will feel like a true luxury if you do.
If you have ice cube trays, you can lay a coin on the top of one of the frozen cubes. If your freezer goes off long enough to let the coin sink to the bottom, you know your food didn't stay totally frozen either.
Freeze drinking water or juices in plastic bottles to fill any empty spaces in your refrigerator or freezer. Hopefully, they will still be cold when you are thirsty.
Ice- Buy ice in advance if needed, or you can fill ziplock bags with water in advance and make your own supply.
TIP- You can use square plastic containers of water for freezing to use as ice blocks (example here). The square containers can be stacked easily either in your freezer or in a cooler and they last much longer than loose ice. They can fit tightly into spaces where water bottles can not. (Thanks cbb for the tip!)
TIP- Take food from the refrigerator or freezer and the square containers of ice and stack them in coolers that are then stacked on top of each other. Cover coolers with a sleeping bag for added insulation. (Thanks cbb for the tip!)
Clothing- Wash all of your clothes in advance so you will have them ready in case the power goes out and appliances are not working for days or weeks at a time.
Clothing Needed- seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes / boots / wading boots / extra shoes / extra socks / dry clothing.
Pack some clean clothes to take with you- several days worth- in case you must evacuate quickly.
TIP- Reports say clothes pins and clothes lines were "like gold" after Katrina.
Dishes- Run the dishwasher and empty it before the storm hits so the dirty dishes don't cause additional mold or nasty bacterial problems for you.
Have large clean pots ready to boil water if needed. Even if flooding occurs in another area it can affect your water supply after a disaster.
Have a good supply of paper or plastic plates, bowls, cups and plastic silverware to avoid having to do as many dishes.
Lower priority- run the vacuum cleaner if possible. It's one of the many appliances you could be without for a long time if the power goes out.
Additional Indoor Considerations & Preparation
A battery operated fan can really help to cool you off in the heat. Here is an example of a 5 inch fan. Ten inch fans are also available. (Thanks cbb for the reminder!)
Recharge all rechargeable batteries in advance.
Store your valuables in waterproof bags.
Turn off electric appliances and unplug them, especially sensitive (computers) electronics. A power surge cord is not able to prevent damage during severe storms.
TIP- Leave one light turned on so you will know when the power comes back on.
Check all fire extinguishers and smoke detectors regularly during the year. Review this 2 minute video showing how to use a fire extinguisher. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z2C13gJh-g
Safe Room Information
Planning to build or do some construction? If so, consider making a safe room for your home. Consider having it reinforced. Here are some examples of working plans for a safe room if you are building from scratch or can add one to your existing home.
Hurricane Season Preparation Check List
To be best prepared...
Water- best scenario is having at least 3 gallons daily per person for 7-10 days. At least one gallon of clean water to drink and cook with per day, and 2 gallons for washing/cleaning/toilet flushing.
To Disinfect Water- The EPA suggests first straining particles from water using coffee filters or layers of cloth. Then, vigorous boiling of water for at least one full minute (preferably longer) will kill germs. OR... Use 8 drops of chlorine bleach to disinfect clear water, 16 drops per gallon for murky water. Allow water to stand (covered) for 30 minutes after it is well stirred. Water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, treat again using the same amount of chlorine and let stand 15 more minutes. Tape an eye dropper or teaspoon to the Clorox bottle to have it handy and keep it separated from eating utensils.
More Water- Keep your freezer full by putting 2 liter water bottles in them. This will keep the freezer and food colder for a longer period of time and the bottles can be used as an additional cold drinking water source if needed.
Extra Water Source- Fill your washer machine (top loading only) with water and also your bathtubs with water for toilet flushing and general cleaning purposes.
Extra Water Source- Fill coffee pot, coolers, pitchers, outdoor trash cans, sinks, buckets, pots with lids, water tanks, solar water bags, 2 liter bottles, etc. with fresh water.
Extra Water Source- Put buckets or trash cans under rain gutters to collect additional water.
REMEMBER- You can never have too much clean water in a disaster situation. It is the first thing that is needed, yet it is the first thing that is depleted in most areas after a disaster.
Emergency Shelter, Property Protection & Other Tips
Tents- A tent would come in very handy- may even be considered a life saver- after a disaster. You can use it to live in temporarily, or to store items while you are cleaning up, making home repairs or doing construction. Watch for yard sales and sales at your local stores. Inexpensive tents can house up to 4 people (or supplies) if needed. There are larger tents (higher price) if needed.
Trash bags- Large and medium sized trash bags can come in handy for protecting and storing items if a home is damaged, and will be needed during clean-up for waste removal. Be sure to have a very good supply on hand.
Food, Food, Food- Feed Me!
Food Preparation- Non-electric can opener, pocket knife, utility knife and at least enough food for 3 days is necessary (7-10 is better). Pots and pans that can be used on an outdoor grill if needed would be nice.
A Break For You- Plan to cook as little as possible (yippee). Only purchase foods you and your family like and will eat. The more familiar the foods, the better. Snacks and comfort foods will go quickly.
Use mostly non-perishable packaged or canned food. Have some plastic containers available to store a few leftovers and aluminum foil for quicker grill clean-up.
First 3 Days- Food- Put some of your perishable foods from the refrigerator in an ice-filled cooler to eat first. This will prevent opening the door of fridge/freezer, keeping things inside colder longer if the power goes out.
Staples- Suggestions- Peanut butter, jelly, tuna and salmon in a can or vacuum packed, cans or jars of fruit, canned or vacuum packed chicken, protein shakes, canned or packaged milk, fruit bars, nuts, raisins, trail mix, canned vegetables, sugar, salt, pepper, cooking oil, canned soup, cookies and snack cakes.
Newer Items to Consider- Uncle Ben's Cooked Rice, packages of Barilla Ready Pasta (fully cooked), individual servings of instant oatmeal and instant grits. (I know, "instant" grits are not REALLY grits if you are a grit lover, but you'll just have to make do during a disaster.) ~smile~
More Food Suggestions- Baby food, juices and formula, packaged mashed potatoes, cereals (individual serving packs are nice), honey, hard candy, chips, hot chocolate, tea, granola bars, graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, coffee, non-dairy creamer, maple syrup, dried fruit and canned spaghetti or ravioli.
Don't forget the chocolate!
Drinks- Stock up on your favorite drinks. Put Gator Aid (reported to be good for rehydration), fruit juices (individual cans to prevent spoilage) and Power Aid in small containers so large amounts of left overs don't need to be refrigerated. Make green or regular tea, Kool-Aid and other flavored drinks in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer too.
Rarely Remembered- Brewing a pot of coffee and storing it in the refrigerator in advance may be helpful, especially if you are not a "morning person". Grumpy just doesn't get it during a disaster.
More Coffee- You can also make coffee without a coffee maker. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Use a little more water than normal because some will not be used. When water boils add coffee (approximately 2 Tablespoons per 6 oz. of water). Immediately turn off the heat, cover the pan and let sit 4-5 minutes for the grounds to settle in the bottom. Do not stir. Carefully ladle the coffee from the top of the pot into cups.
Safe Food Handling- Remember- if your refrigerator is not full you can refrigerate as much water and/or drinks as possible to keep the refrigerator colder when the electricity goes out. When in doubt, throw it out.
Cooking- Fill your BBQ grill propane tank so you can cook and heat water outside as needed. Get BBQ grill cooking tools and cleaning scrubbies ready.
Dishes- Have a good supply of paper plates, plastic bowls and cups (Red Solo Cups are fun), plastic utensils and paper towels so you don't have to wash dishes. (Double yippee!)
Cleaning Supplies- Have plenty of dish soap, dry towels and antibacterial hand soap available. A 2 gallon plastic container with a spout at the bottom (example here) is nice to have to sit on a counter top or by the sink, especially for washing hands and for use by children.
Paper towels- are a must. Have plenty on hand. Then get more.
A mop and bucket may be needed to absorb flood water and clean up messes.
A bag of rags (or two or more bags) will be very useful in most situations.
Cleaning & Disinfectant Supplies- Have several gallons of Clorox bleach on hand for disinfecting drinking water and cleaning purposes (clothes, sheets, blankets, toilets, etc.). Only use bleach with no scents and no other additives.
Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizers are handy to have and often necessary.
Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are good to have on hand for sanitizing purposes.
Potty Talk- Plastic garbage bags of various sizes with ties (for personal sanitation, trash, wet items, dirty clothes, etc.) At least one 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid to use as a toilet if needed; and plastic bags to line the bucket. Toilet paper, towelettes- have on hand- get more than you think will be needed.
Rest, Naps, Sleeping
Disasters can tire you out and even exhaust you. Please get some rest, lots of it, so you can better cope.
Sleeping- Have a good supply of sheets, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. Pack some bedding items in the car to take with you if you must evacuate.
Bathing supplies- Have ready a good supply of clean towels /wash cloths / bathroom supplies / toilet paper / antibacterial soap / tooth brushes / rubbing alcohol / hair brushes / moist cleaning wipes / personal and feminine hygiene supplies.
TIP- You may not be able to bathe for some time. Before the disaster, if you know it is coming, take a good shower and wash your hair. It may be a long time before you get the chance to do that again.
First Aid Kit- be sure it is well supplied. You can watch for sales on first aid supplies during the year and purchase items at a discount to fill your kit. See list of suggested first aid supplies by clicking here.
Medicines / Prescription Drugs- Keep at least a 2 week supply of your medications and supplements on hand at all times. If possible, a months supply is better in the event pharmacies can not receive supplies due to road closures and damaged factories.
Put your doctor and pharmacy phone numbers in with your medications. A list of your prescriptions and/or using the original bottles with the exact prescribing information may be necessary to get refills.
If you wear a hearing aid be sure to have an extra battery and info about the hearing aid with you in the event it is lost!
If you use white canes, text to speech software, etc. keep a record with you of model numbers and where you purchased the equipment in the event it needs to be replaced.
If you use a power wheelchair, a back up chair (not powered) would be good to have on hand. Keep information about the model, the RX you have for it, etc. with you.
He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins!
Electronic Items - Have your camera, camera supplies, Ipod, laptop, phones and computer updated and stored in a safe place. Charge batteries in advance and have an ample supply of regular batteries and rechargeable batteries on hand.
Additional Items & Considerations
Most homes have a main electrical panel, where you can simply shut off the power to your entire home by turning the switch to “off.” There should also be a fuse box or circuit breaker where you can shut off all the circuits. Turning off the power to your home before a hurricane or tornado hits may prevent damage to your home and appliances.
TIP- Unplug all lamps, appliances, and other electrical devises from the wall sockets for better protection.
Important Documents- Put your phone book, credit cards, insurance information, photos of household items, passports, recent medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, Medicare card, etc. in a waterproof container or watertight plastic bag. (An example of a watertight bag is here.)
Scan and/or put copies of all important documents in ziplock bags or on CD's. Mail an extra copy of the papers/discs to someone living away from your area for safe keeping. Update the copies of your important papers once a year or more often if needed.
Don't Forget The Keys- Be sure to have spare house and vehicle keys in a safe place.
Tools- Keep a small set with you consisting of the basics during the storm in the event they are needed in an emergency.
Let There Be Light!
It is sad to look over at a neighbors home and see pitch darkness with an occasional someone stumbling around with the one flashlight they own!
Flashlights- Get some GOOD flashlights. And batteries too! Buy one at a time during the year so you will have what is needed when the time comes.
TIP- I like lots of light. Got to have it. I recently purchased at least a dozen of these small flash lights- click here. They are small, but seem fairly powerful. They are brightly colored so they can be seen easily. They cost $1.00 each. They had batteries already in them. The batteries alone would have cost more than $1.00. They were in boxes in the outdoor supply section, along with the other flashlights- near the fishing supplies. GOOD deal!
Light up the darkness! And do it safely!
Hurricane Lamps- Get fuel and extra wicks for hurricane lamps and use the lamps only if needed as a back up. And ONLY use them when you are in the room with them. No exceptions! Do not try to fill a "hot" lamp. Let it cool completely before refilling and clean up any spilled fuel before re-lighting. How to Use A Hurricane Lamp Instructions Here
Battery Charging- Get a battery charger to use in your vehicle if needed. Keep a supply of extra flash light batteries on hand in advance, various sizes to match your needs. Stores will run out of batteries first if there is a potential disaster approaching. I've seen Walmart run out of flashlights and batteries several days in advance in locations several hundred miles from the projected path of a hurricane! They go FAST!
Generator- Check it and do a test run several times a year and before it is needed. Generators are NOT TO BE USED IN THE HOUSE, GARAGE or where people are sleeping or spending time. Be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Generator Guide- Consumer Report
Caution- Candles are not recommended by some officials due to possible gas leaks and fire danger.
Weather Alerts & Entertainment
Emergency Radio- Battery operated NOAA weather radio and extra batteries can be helpful. Some are solar powered, which does no good during a tornado or hurricane, but can be handy afterwards. Some can be charged using a hand crank, however, unless you are strong, tireless and have nothing better to do get battery operated flashlights and radios.
Additional battery operated AM/FM radios are nice to have if there are children in the home or their is someone who wants to hear their favorite sports broadcasts (you know how they get- nothing more important than "the game" or "the race" or "the match" even in a disaster).
Entertainment- Toys, some new or favorite books, board games, cards and writing/coloring materials will be appreciated if you have a supply on hand. Board games, books and other entertainment items can be purchased at many 2nd hand shops- just be sure all the parts and pieces are there.
NOTICE- Be prepared to be under Martial Law after the storm or disaster, possibly for days or weeks. This means the possibility of no one being permitted in or out of the area, no one allowed outside or on streets between certain hours (curfews), etc. There may be no one to clear roads to permit safe traveling and no 911 related services available.
Supplies you may need, should have or want to have on hand
A Must- Fire extinguishers- How to use a fire extinguisher (2 minute video)
A Must- Smoke detectors & extra batteries
2-4 tarps, ties, ropes
3 gallons chlorine bleach for water and sanitizing purposes
Pliers and other tools
Matches and lighters stored in a waterproof container
(Tip- why get matches these days? A lighter is much easier to use.)
Aluminum foil, plastic storage containers
Signal flare, needles, thread, ziplock bags
Camera for taking photos of damage
Pens, markers, paper
A shut-off wrench to turn off gas and water supply at the tank
A whistle to wear on a string around your neck for yourself and each family member for emergency search and rescue purposes
Soap, liquid detergents and antibacterial hand soaps- you can use it later so stock up and be prepared now
Lysol spray (or liquid for washing blankets, sheets, etc.)
Hat and gloves for all members of the family. Work gloves are often needed during clean up, especially when handling broken glass, metal scraps, using a chain saw, etc.
Extra eye glasses and/or your eye glass prescription to have new ones made if needed
Space bags for emergency warmth
Glow sticks for low lighting needs and to keep kids occupied
After the Storm
Do not enter evacuated areas until local officials have issued an all clear.
And don't make the mistake some do
And think you are smarter than the rescue workers are
And try to work around them to get in or out
Or get impatient with them.
Get medical attention for injuries.
Advise interested parties that you are safe and check on others well-being.
Stay away from disaster areas. Do not sightsee! Downed power lines and collapsed roads can be hidden and can kill you if you get too close.
Turn around- don't drown! You've all seen videos of people having to be rescued from their vehicles after getting too close to deep or swiftly moving water. Don't put rescue workers lives in danger, IF they are even available to be there for you and can get there in time.
Use extra caution when doing clean up and repairs to avoid injury.
Obey all curfews and emergency orders that are issued.
If you must drive in an emergency situation use extreme caution. Be aware of downed power lines that may not be visible, deep water, road and bridge washouts, sink holes, wandering animals, potholes and storm debris on roadways.
When it doubt, throw it out! Use caution and check carefully before using food from your refrigerator or ice chest. Check for spoilage first.
Avoid all downed power lines and poles. Assume that all have live electricity. Often broken lines are tangled up in fallen trees and not visible.
Check carefully before using a chainsaw or you may hit a hidden live power line and get severely zapped.
Take extra precautions to prevent fire. Lowered pressure in water mains may make fire fighting extremely difficult and emergency crews may not be able to respond.
Have your electric, gas and water connections checked before turning them back on.
Use your emergency supply or boil water before using until there is official word that the water is safe.
Continue checking with officials about water usage, driving conditions, etc. for days to weeks after a disaster. What was once thought to be safe water can suddenly be declared "unsafe" after several days or weeks due to run off, bacteria, excessive flood waters or sewage contamination.
Local police, county administrator and sheriff's websites typically provide alerts to keep you informed. Check messages daily or more often.
When the storm is over, please thank your local, state and federal rescue, law enforcement and emergency workers. Please don't forget the 911 operators, transportation departments and electric company and phone workers.
If conditions are bad for these emergency workers at their homes or workplaces, if you can do so please offer to help them with clean up and repairs. Or, offering a plate full of chocolate chip cookies or doing other kind gestures will go a long way to brighten their day. Thanks!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON DISASTERS & CHECK LISTS
PLEASE GO TO THE RED CROSS WEBSITE
More Information Here