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Over the past few months we’ve seen how powerful hurricanes and wildfires truly are. Many parts of Houston, Texas are still flooded and it may take years for the city to recover. In my state we saw a thousand year flood in October of 2015 and one year later we were hit with a category 1 hurricane. As of this writing, Hurricane Irma is tearing up the Atlantic Ocean poised to be America's next weather disaster. These are devastating events that your family needs to be prepared for.
To help your family be ready, learn these 10 ways to stay safe in bad weather.
1) Floodplain - What you first need to know about the readiness of your home is if it resides in a floodplain. According to Science Daily, a floodplain is “flat or nearly flat land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences occasional flooding.” By knowing this, you need to develop an evacuation plan since your home may not be a safe place in a flood scenario. Also if your home is in an easily flooded area make sure you have flood insurance, today. It may take months for a new policy to go through, so get on it right now.
2) Be Aware - Keeping your family safe is your responsibility. If you hear of wildfire that is burning too close to your home or a hurricane is heading to your area, don’t wait to be told to leave. Don’t rely on government mandated evacuation orders. You are in charge of your family and if you feel like you need to leave your home, then go. When evacuation orders are given by the government, you need to follow them. Don’t try and ride out the storm. Make sure your phone receives inclement weather alerts so you are always on top of the latest information.
3) Charged Phone - Keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. Too many of us let the power run all the way down. Don’t be caught in a storm with a dead phone. At night, plug in your phone so it’s fully charged in the morning. Also have a power bank ready to go as well. I’ve used an Anker Power Bank for years and it’s never failed me.
4) Make Sure your Car is Ready - Keep your car in running order. Don’t ignore the check engine or the low fuel lights. When it comes time to evacuate, you’ll be concerned about getting your family and essential items packed. Your car should not be a concern. Always have at least a ¼ tank of gas at all times. Being stuck in line at a gas station is not where you want to be as a hurricane bears down on you.
5) Evacuation Plan - Whether it’s for a fire or a storm, you need to have an evacuation plan in place. That means you know it, your kids now it and you’ve practiced it. My parents always had an evacuation plan. I can tell you the rally points of every house I lived in growing up. For more on fire safety please read my article, Secure Dad 101: Fire Safety.
6) Food and Medicine - Whether you are sheltering in place in your home or evacuating, it’s very important to have food, water and medicine stocked for emergencies. You can buy terrible tasting food from a survival site or you can amass all your favorite flavors of Pop-Tarts and beef jerky. Personally, I’ll take the Pop-Tarts. Don’t forget to have several days worth of essential medication for each person in your home. This should be kept separate from daily use medicine. Store it with your emergency supplies like your comprehensive first aid kit.
7) Supplies in your Car - Not all emergencies will happen while all of your family members are home. You may be caught in a bad situation in a store or at work. Keep emergency supplies like first aid kits, flashlights, water and non perishable food in your car. Find an old backpack and toss in a few essentials, that way when the time comes, you can grab the bag and go.
8) Emergency Kits - You can make your own emergency kit out of an old backpack or you can purchase some ready to go. Whichever you choose, place it in a designated area in your home where all family members know where it is. Do the same for your cars. These kits offer more than just first aid. Included are flashlights, food, batteries and usually a radio. Pick one that will cover all the members of your family.
9) Pets - Our pets are part of our families too. Make sure that your four legged friends have their essentials ready to go. If your animals need medication, store it with your emergency medicine near your supplies. Also be sure to have a harness or carrier nearby so you can control your animal when you have to leave.
10) Lighting - Growing up in the southeast, I’ve experienced a few hurricanes and bad storms. When the power goes out, make sure you have emergency lighting. Stock up on candles and LED lanterns when you can throughout the year. Place lanterns in the occupied rooms of your home like the kitchen, den and all the bedrooms. This way you can access one when you need it. Also be sure to have a ready supply of different sized batteries for these lights.
We can’t always predict the next storm or wild fire. That’s why it’s imperative you be prepared today. Don’t try to stock up or make a plan when the hysteria sets in. For more tips on family protection in your inbox, consider The Secure Dad Newsletter.