May 15-21 is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Preparedness Week!
Living in South Florida, most of us know that hurricane season isn't something to be taken lightly. While we are used to the constant, albeit intense, thunderstorms, many of us remember the harrowing experiences of living through storms such as Hurricane Andrew or Hurricane Wilma.
Although there are some factors outside of our locus of control, when preparing for a major storm system to hit, it is important that we focus on what we can control and ensure we are as prepared as humanly possible. Often times, our ability to manage after a major storm hits is contingent upon a well thought-out plan.
So now that we have already had our first named storms of the season, it is crucial that we begin stocking up on supplies so we are prepared in the event a storm does make landfall. I know skeptics are saying that we haven't had one in a while and there's no need to waste the money, but that is absolutely not a risk anyone should be willing to take. As they say, you're always better safe than sorry and most of these supplies should be updated every six months, or so.
According to the NOAA, these are some of the most important supplies to include in your disaster kit:
- Cash -- Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
- Water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three to seven days, plus water for pets. IMPORTANT: This number can double in extremely hot temperatures or if you plan to use water to cook, so plan accordingly.
- Food -- at least enough for three to seven days, including: Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, food for infants and the elderly, snack food, non-electric can opener, vitamins, paper plates, plastic utensils.
- Radio -- battery powered and NOAA weather radio with extra batteries.
- Blankets, pillows etc.
- Clothing -- seasonal, rain gear/ sturdy shoes.
- First Aid Kit -- plus medicines, prescription drugs.
- Special items -- for babies and the elderly.
- Toiletries -- hygiene items, moisture wipes, sanitizer.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Toys, books, games.
- Pet care items, proper identification, immunization records, ample food and water, medicine, a carrier or cage, leash.
- It also doesn't hurt to be sure your car's gas tanks are filled up in case you need to evacuate, also because after a storm hits, stations tend to run out and/or have pretty long lines
Store important documents in a fire and water proof container.
- Insurance papers
- Medical records
- Bank account numbers
- Social Security cards
- Deeds or mortgages
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Stocks and bonds
- Recent tax returns
For a more comprehensive toolkit on preparing for hurricane season, I encourage you to check out http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/hurricane_preparedness.html