The world has seen its fair share of natural disasters, from earthquakes to fires, tornados to hurricanes, and more. The images of those affected by these tragedies are heart wrenching. While it’s true that there is a random, unexpected quality to most of these events, being prepared for whatever dangerous weather patterns are likely in your area will certainly improve your odds of surviving and being more comfortable in the days and weeks afterwards. As Floridians, we have learned to take hurricane warnings seriously. The most important factor in staying safe is heeding official evacuation orders, and this holds true for any weather emergency. In addition, we have a few tips that you can do now to help you and the ones you love stay safe in the face of nature’s most dangerous elements.
1. Have a way to receive news alerts in a situation where there is no power. If the power goes out, chances are that you won’t have cell service for very long, either. Invest in a low-cost radio that can receive local bulletins. If it’s not solar powered, be sure to have back-up batteries. This will be your most reliable way to connect with relevant, up-to-date information in an emergency.
2. Have a “go bag” containing a few days’ supply of water, non-perishable food, important documents, medications, and supplies for your pet. You don’t want to be scrambling to gather these items in the middle of an emergency, so have a box that’s easy to grab & go. Pro tip: put important documents in a waterproof box or envelope.
3. Always keep your car filled with at least a ½ tank of gas or have an electric car that is ½ charged. Inevitably, lines will be long at gas stations and the last thing you want to deal with is waiting for gas when you are trying to get away from a threatening situation. In the case of a hurricane, where you tend to get a few days’ notice of impending danger, make sure your trip to the gas station is your first stop. This could save you precious hours in a situation where every minute counts.
4. Gather items for a first aid kit. We find it helpful to keep a kit in the car – you won’t believe how often it comes in handy! But for your emergency bag, be sure to have lots of bandages and supplies for cleaning and caring for wounds. A little hand sanitizer goes a long way and a foil blanket is a compact, efficient way to stay warm.
Taking the time to prepare the essentials now, when you are in a place of safety and security, can mean the difference between stress and chaos or a timely, smooth evacuation or response. We are, of course, hoping you’ll never need to use these tips in an emergency, but the peace of mind that early preparation will give you will allow you to fully enjoy this summer and beyond! Stay safe!