As hurricane season arrives, ensure that your family has an emergency plan in place. Even if you don’t live in an area that experiences hurricane’s you should have a family emergency plan which covers every contingency. Being prepared is the best way to mitigate damage and injury.
Create an emergency plan
Create a disaster kit which contains essentials your family will need to survive for a few days. This should include warm clothing, blankets, water, first aid kit, food, important documents, flashlights, batteries and other essentials. You can get a full list of emergency supplies from the FEMA website here.
Agree on a family meeting place other than your home. This could be a storm shelter, school or local meeting point that all members of your family know how to navigate to from places they are most likely to be like school, friend’s homes or sports facilities. If you cannot locate your family members, contact the Red Cross on 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit their website.
Find shelters in your area before disaster strikes so you know exactly where to go. If you have pets, find hotels nearby that will accommodate them as most shelters do not accept pets. Pack some pet food into your emergency kit.
In the US, you can find your nearest shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Prepare your Family
Each family member should have a list of contact numbers to call in the event of an emergency. They should have these numbers in their phones as well as a hard copy in case they have no service or if their battery is flat or their phone is damaged. The National Hurricane Center recommends keeping these contacts handy:
- Law Enforcement
- Public Safety Fire/Rescue
- Relatives or friends who live nearby
Check that you also have an emergency evacuation plan at your workplace and that your child’s school has one in place that they practice annually.
Pack a bag with emergency supplies in your vehicle during storm season and check that your vehicle is in good working order.
When a storm hits
If you work or live in a high-rise building, seek shelter below the 10th floor when there are high winds. Ensure that you know the location of a shelter on higher ground if you live in a high flood risk area. Don’t just look at wind strength to determine if you should evacuate during a storm. NOAA’s new storm surge maps also show possible storm surges that could help you to keep your family safe. You can also assess your vulnerability to floods by checking the government website: FloodSmart.gov or at FEMA’s Map Portal.
Canadian residents can check their flood zones on the Public Safety site.
UK residents can check the Environmental Agency site here.
Being prepared for emergencies and storms will mean that you and your family know exactly what to do when disaster strikes.
Pic by Paul Townsend