The devastation that Hurricane Dorian created in The Bahamas is just heart breaking. Coastal towns along the Southeastern region were prepping to experience similar conditions. Most states lucked out and sustained minimal damage. Especially when compared to last year’s hurricane that did ravage the East Coast. Some home owners and businesses are still battling insurance companies a year later for payouts to repair their buildings. Kinda makes you wonder why we all pay so much in insurance premiums if you can’t get their help when you really need it. But that’s a topic for another day.
Here in Charlotte, we were expecting to get some of Hurricane Dorian’s wrath. But we barely got any rain let alone any damaging winds. None of that mattered though, the grocery shelves were bare. That reminds me of a funny observation that my husband’s friend made one time when we were about to have a bad snow storm many years ago. His friend is not from the U.S. He asked my husband why do Americans have the tradition of making french toast every time the weatherman talks about a storm rolling in. We of course said…what…huh…oh….too funny. And then explained to him that nobody is making french toast, everyone just freaks out and buys up all of the milk, bread and eggs. I thought it was hysterical but it does show that we are preparing in the wrong way.
The whole experience with Hurricane Dorian made me think that we really need to be better prepared for an emergency. It’s only the beginning of hurricane season so we may face another storm in the upcoming weeks. But emergency preparedness isn’t just about hurricanes. It can apply to any type of natural disaster, such as flooding, fires, tornado, mudslide, earthquake, etc. And it can hit at any time, so this is the time to prep your home, office, car and most importantly your family. Last year we had a friend who left a candle lit in his home overnight and half of his home burned down. It was a life changing devastation. My husband and I joined some of his co-workers to help in the cleanup efforts and I just wanted to ball up and cry my eyes out. So you see, an emergency doesn’t have to be a natural catastrophic occurrence, it could be a simple mistake we make when we are tired.
So let’s talk about how to get better prepared just in case you and your family experience any type of emergency.
TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME
First make sure your insurance is paid up and in effect. I know insurance companies suck but with absolutely no insurance you are without a doubt screwed. Remember our friend that set his house on fire with a candle, yeah he forgot to pay his bill so no insurance. He is on his own to rebuild half of his house. Don’t be that guy. Either have a copy of your policy in a fire proof safe or a copy in a family binder that you grab in an emergency. At the very least have your insurance guy’s phone number saved in your phone.
So now you need to do all of the basic things that the news tells you to do anytime they talk nonstop about a storm that is approaching. For instance make sure to have on hand: candles, flash light, water and shelf stable food. You want enough water and food to last everyone in your home for 3-5 days in case you lose power in your home. So most people buy a bunch of junk food and food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Which is good but you can also think outside the box. If you lose power you can still cook on your grill or camp stove, so make sure you always have charcoal or your propane tank full. When the power goes out, leave your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. When you need to you can transfer food to coolers and when we lived up north we could put food outside in the winter time. Make sure to have ice and plastic ice packs in the freezer at all times. If you can prep some freezer meals now, you could reheat them on your grill during a power outage. Just take time to think about the best types of food and how long they can last frozen and then thawed. If you are ambitious, you could learn how to can food which can last for years in your pantry. In addition to the regular items listed above, you can pull out your camping lanterns and make sure you have batteries for all of your flashlights and lanterns and have lighters for all of those candles.
If you have time before a storm hits, make sure all of your devices and battery banks are charged. You can also buy solar powered chargers for your phone. Here’s a tip for you if you got rid of your landline like most people have, dig up an old cell phone and keep it on a charger somewhere in the house where there is no other phone, you can always call 911 even if the phone doesn’t currently have an active plan. If you lose power you will find out how reliant you are on all of those devices. You need to have things to do to keep you occupied especially if you have kids. So take advantage of the situation to pull out a book, cards or play your family’s favorite board game.
Does anyone in your family have any medical needs? Make sure to keep prescriptions filled, have a first aide kit in the house and not a cheesy one with hardly anything in it, invest in a real one. You could take it a step further and sign up for a first aide or CPR class.
The most important thing to do now if you do nothing else is to talk with your family about what to do in an emergency. How can your kids get out of the house in a fire? Do your kids know when and how to call 911? Figure out where you will go in the house to be most protected, usually a basement or the most interior room with no windows.
TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE YOUR OFFICE
Did you even think to prepare your office space for an emergency? It’s not usually high on the list of priorities but it’s the place you spend most of your day. So make your office a mini version of your home. Have a flashlight with batteries in your desk. Maybe a small first aide kit in the drawer along with some snacks and bottles of water. Keep a spare phone charger in your office too. Do you have emergency phone numbers accessible? I barely have my own phone number memorized let along anyone else’s. One last tid bit, think about an exit strategy. And no I don’t mean how to quit that job you can’t stand anymore, I mean more like if something bad happens while you are at work, where are the exits, how many different ways can you get out of the office and if you had to hide, where would you go?
TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CAR
I have a basic roadside kit in my car which will be good if my car breaks down. But there are a few other items that I need to add to my kit that you should too like a water bottle, snacks, flashlight with batteries, blanket, pocket knife, matches and an old school paper map.
I hope this gave you a few ideas on how to better prepare for the “just in case” scenario. These are some basic concepts that I can explore more in depth in another blog post. In the meantime, I think I will look over my home, office and car to make sure I haven’t overlooked any of these ideas.