Katrina may have seemed like the storm to end all storms, but the last couple of years have spawned more hurricanes, tropical storms and bad weather problems than most people have dealt with in their lifetime. Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” in the media, proved how much damage a natural disaster can create. With the chances of Mother Nature crashing down on your home getting closer every season, it’s time to start serious planning. When it comes to hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural catastrophes, do you have a survival plan?
Planning for the worst begins by sitting down with your family and planning what each of you will do during the coming storm. Decide how each member of the family will get home, including tracing out alternate routes in case roads are blocked. Designate a responsible adult to gathering each minor child and bringing them home. Once you have the routes home planned, start stocking emergency supplies. FEMA recommends keeping at least a 3-day supply of food and water for each member of the household, stored in a safe place near the center of the house. Designate part of a closet for hurricane supplies, then fill it up with shelf-stable food such as tuna, crackers and peanut butter, gallons of spring water, blankets, flashlights and a crank-powered radio. Add playing cards, paperback books and board games to help pass the boring hours without electricity.
What if disaster hits your home? While you’re planning to hunker down in the house without electricity, start planning for the worst; what if you can’t even use that comfort? Designate a spot away from your home, near high ground, as a meeting place for all family members. Choose a spot everyone can easily find, such as a school, post office or favorite park. While you’re packing hurricane supplies in your closet, add more portable versions to backpacks or rolling suitcases to create bug-out bags. These bags hold enough basic supplies to keep you safe for 72 hours, and each family member should have one of their own. Keep a separate bag in the car and one in your office, as well as a change of clothing more suitable for urban hiking.