Officially, the Atlantic Hurricane season begins June 1st and runs until November 30th. Peak hurricane season is quickly approaching, as it runs from August to October. With 2020 being a big hurricane year, it is predicted that 2021 will be a very stormy year as well.
Regardless of what lies ahead, there are steps everyone can take to be prepared for an upcoming crisis, whether it is unexpected weather or life events.
Police and News social media pages are great resources to receive current updates during emergences. Web applications such as Facebook's Safety Check and Google Person Finder enables you to check on family and friends. Resort to non-voice channels of communication such as texting, emailing, and social media as it uses less telecom network capacity. Utilize your phone calls solely for emergency services and urgent calls. Compile contact information for family, friends, out-of-area contacts, and emergency services in your phone and as a paper copy that is easily accessible, such as in one's wallet or purse if not at home at the time of a crisis.
Some essentials to have in case of an emergency include three gallons of water per person, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a first aid kit, important medications, extra clothing, a flashlight with batteries, a weather radio, and important family documents. Having this together ahead of time will greatly help when an emergency strikes. Consider investing in a generator, as it will keep the lights on if the power goes out. This will also prevent food in the refrigerator and freezer from perishing. If the power is lost and you do not have a generator, consume food in the fridge before consuming perishables.
Select Your Meeting Places:
It is important to have a designated meeting place for an emergency where you cannot get into contact with others. Consider choosing a location in the neighborhood, in town, and out-of-town so that your family can regroup if an emergency strikes and you are not together. Identify your city's major evacuation centers, and consider choosing meeting places close to these areas.
Hold a family meeting where adults will discuss the importance of being prepared and assign roles in case of an emergency. Review the types of disasters that occur most often in your area and assign roles for each situation. Examples of roles include getting the pets, grabbing the emergency kit, locking the doors, collecting important documents, etc.
Collect Important Documents:
Important documents are those you rarely need until big life events happen. Although rarely needed, it is important that these documents are kept together in a safe and easily accessible place. These documents include legal identification documents, tax documents, property records, medical records, and finance records. Legal identification documents include birth certificates, social security cards, adoption papers, marriage licenses, and passports. Tax documents include tax returns, W-2s, 1099 forms, and any other tax-related forms, receipts or records. Property records include vehicle registrations and titles, mortgage statements, deeds, and bills of sale, and insurance policies for home, auto, and other personal property. Medical records include wills, powers of attorney or living will, medical bills, burial instructions, and healthy insurance policies. Finance records may include pay stubs, canceled checks, disability or unemployment records, retirement or pension plan records, and investment statements.
Make a Plan for Your Four-Legged Friend:
Ensure that your pet will be kept safe during an emergency by assigning a role to a family member to retrieve them and bring them to meeting places. Also, it is important to keep a separate pet emergency kit. This kit may include three to seven days of food and water, extra litter or disposable trays, their travel carrier, important documents such as medical records and current photos, cage liners, blankets, and an extra collar, harness, or leash.
Author: Grace D'Egidio