A Comprehensive Disaster Plan and Free Resources
No one can forget the devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina five years ago. Now hurricane Earl is lashing the Caribbean, threatening to become a category 5 storm, (here are the latest updates as they comes across the pike.) Now you may be thinking Earl doesn’t apply to you because you don’t live anywhere near Puerto Rico. But what if a hurricane or disaster where to arrive in YOUR backyard? Are you prepared?
I did some research on what states are doing for their citizens to make sure each person is prepared in case of disaster. I was very pleased to discover this page from Maria Shriver and the state of California. The free material is not only reserved for California residents. There are several free downloads of checklist and information that all of us would do well to have on hand and use to become prepared in case of disaster or emergency.
Firefighters will tell you that the most important thing to do to be prepared is to assemble supplies. That’s a great beginning, but let’s go several steps further and make sure we are TOTALLY PREPARED!
- Assemble individual backpacks for each member of your family with emergency supplies, such as first aid kits, bottled water, pre-packed food and extra clothing, so you can grab them and throw them in your car if you need to or you can carry them if you’re on foot.
- Make sure to include food that will not perish and that your kids will actually eat. Peanut butter and crackers always work!
- Refresh backpacks every six months–rotate food and water, make sure your kids’ clothes and diapers still fit, check freshness of medications, etc.
- Be sure to include some cash in your kit and make sure you store it in small bills. It’s going to be tough to find someone who’ll break a $100 bill when you want to buy a loaf of bread.
- Arrange a neighborhood meeting spot to meet. Choose a spot where the kids don’t have to cross the street if they’re small.
- Don’t let your gas tank go lower than half-full. If there’s a big disaster the gas stations might not be able to pump so you won’t be able to fill up to get to your out-of-state meeting or evacuation point.
- Strap heavy things to walls — shelves, tv’s, big framed art — anything that might fall down and crush you. This is just good sense when you have little kids around anyway.
- Try not to put your beds under windows so you aren’t showered with glass while you sleep. Also, don’t hang framed art over beds.
- Keep shoes, rubber soled slippers or even flip-flops by everyones’ beds. If there’s an earthquake in the night, the first thing you’ll do is jump up to check on your kids and you don’t want to run into their rooms and shred your feet on broken glass.
- Consider putting child proof latches on upper kitchen cabinets as well as lower cabinets to keep dishes and glasses from falling all over your kitchen.
- You can drink the water out of your hot water heater if you need to. Drain the sediment out of it yearly.
- Buy a wind-up flashlight and always store it in the same spot. That way you can always find it and you don’t have to worry about your kids playing with it so much that your batteries run out.
- Have a land-line and a corded phone. A lot of people are going to cell phones only these days and even those who have land-lines tend to use cordless phones (like us). Cell phones can’t be counted on to work in a disaster and if your power goes out, your cordless phone won’t work either.
By implementing these disaster preparedness measures you can make sure you and your family stay as safe as possible if a natural or man-made emergency comes your way.