The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website features a page with recommendations for preparing for hurricanes. These recommendations can also be applied to other types of extreme weather events and disasters.
Here are some steps you can take to be prepared for hurricanes and other types of disasters:
Know where to go
Sheltering in place is often a good recommendation, but what if you or a family member is injured and needs medical help, or what if your home is rendered unsafe during a disaster? Where are the nearest hospitals, and where can you go if you need emergency shelter? Write down addresses and phone numbers in a safe place — you may not have access to the internet (even from your phone) in the event of an emergency.
Be prepared for power and water outages
If the power goes out, how will you feed yourself? What if the water isn't running, or has been contaminated? NOAA recommends that you keep an emergency rations kit with foods that don't require any preparation or refrigeration, and that you keep these emergency rations in a water-tight container. Make sure everyone in your household knows where this container is located. If the food is canned, make sure you include a can opener and utensils in your kit. You can also store first aid supplies in this container. Keep enough food and fresh water on hand to last 2-3 days.
A generator and/or a camp stove can be extremely helpful in a crisis. Make sure you buy it well ahead of an emergency to avoid low supplies right before a forecasted weather event, and never operate a generator or portable gas stove indoors as these devise produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death (See my blog from last year on CO). It is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned and is, according to the CDC, the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. CO results in more than 430 deaths and 50,000 emergency room visits each year in the U.S. alone (See the CDC FAQs about CO.)
Have a plan for everyone in your household
Sometimes disasters strike suddenly. Have a plan for you and everyone in your household in the event that you're not together when something happens. Plan where to meet up if communications are down, and how to communicate if power is out (charged, hand-held walkie talkies with a range of more than a mile can be useful in this situation).
For more information visit the NOAA website.
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