Creating an Emergency Kit for Hurricane Season
If Betsy, Camille, Andrew, Ike, Rita, Gustav and Katrina aren’t the names of your precious grandchildren, then you probably see what direction we are heading here! Hurricane season is officially underway, and the active months are just around the corner. Taking a couple of hours to “ready yourself” for an unforeseen event can be extremely beneficial. Planning ahead and preparing before an actual storm is brewing allows you to think in a clear, panic-free state. Additionally, it allows you to avoid the long lines and empty shelves that quickly transpire with an impending hurricane. Being prepared can eliminate a great deal of unnecessary anxiety, so if you haven’t started prepping yet, now is the perfect time to do so! Here are our recommendations of items that you should include in your emergency kit.
Having your basic necessities on hand will save you a lot of trouble and worry! First and foremost, make sure you have a 2 week supply of all your medications available, as well as a current list of all meds and dosages. Keep a contact list of your physicians, as well, in case you need to reach them during an emergency. If you have any special medical devices or equipment, create an up-to-date list of the product name, manufacturer, and serial number. If you are dependent on any devices to aid you in mobility, such as a cane or a walker, be sure to label them with your name and contact information. Lastly, be prepared with a store-bought or homemade first aid kit, with basic supplies and bandages.
Food and Water
Keep at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food and water on hand. In the event you are unable to immediately evacuate, or if you become trapped in your own home, this will become your lifeline until you are able to be rescued and transported to a safe location. It is also recommended that you have a supply of paper plates, paper bowls, and plastic utensils in your emergency kit as well. Lastly, be sure to have access to a hand operated can opener.
It’s very helpful to bring your important documents along with you when you evacuate, or to keep them protected if you are trapped at home. Such documents include a copy of your birth and marriage certificates, social security card, medical records, a copy of your will, and your drivers license. All of these items should be stored in a water-tight container that’s easy to transport.
In the event you lose power, you will want to have flashlights and batteries at your disposal. A radio is also helpful to stay connected with the latest information and new emergency alerts. Make sure these items are still working before they are actually needed. Bring along a sufficient amount of cash, in the event credit card and ATM machines are down. The American Red Cross has outlined additional items in this checklist. Print a copy to help you prepare!
Plan and Prepare: Taking the Steps to Ensure You’re Hurricane Ready
There’s a quick forming system that just popped up in the Gulf of Mexico. The water conditions look favorable and the National Hurricane Center has increased the chance of development by 40%. The news outlets are getting “excited” and there’s buzz all around town that this has the potential to become a big storm. Supermarket shelves are selling out of all of the essentials. Lucky for you, your emergency kit is already packed and ready to go! (If it’s not, revisit our article on Creating an Emergency Kit for Hurricane Season.) However, the thoughts and questions come flooding in faster than they can be answered. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will get Grandma from her residence? Will she have everything she needs to evacuate? Are we no going to be providing 24-hour care for her?
Taking the time to sit down and devise a well thought out plan can give you and your loved ones peace of mind when it comes to hurricane season. The best time to do this is before there’s an actual storm brewing. Set up a meeting with your loved ones and discuss any concerns or obstacles that may surface when critical decisions need to be made. Allow them to be an active part of the planning process, if it’s something they’re able to process and understand. Below are some suggestions to get you started and to help you properly prepare.
Designate a Contact Person
Select a family member, close friend, caregiver, or other trusted individual to serve as the point person for your loved one(s). This person will check in on them as the hurricane develops to ensure their safety and awareness. They’ll also be responsible for carrying out the safety plan that’s in place. The contact person’s information should be posted in a visible area so your loved one can reach out to them at any time.
Help keep your loved one informed of any threatening weather that is coming their way. Make sure they are tuned in to local news channels, or that they are kept abreast of current updates. Be sure they understand the severity of the storm and the recommendations being made by the local government regarding evacuation plans.
Make a Decision
With today’s technology, we usually have insight far enough in advance to make an educated decision regarding our plan of action. Have guidelines set to determine whether it’s best to shelter in place or if it’s necessary to evacuate. If your loved one lives in senior housing, be sure to discuss their procedures for such events; fill in any gaps, as needed. If you decide to evacuate with your elderly family member, be sure to bring along all necessary items, including clothes, toiletries, medications, medical devices, important documents, etc. Plan ahead for a safe place to shelter, outside of the path of the storm. Determine your evacuation route and plan for any potential obstacles that may arise. Male sure your destination is handicap accessible, if this pertains to your particular situation. If you cannot safely travel with your loved one, make plans to get them to a local shelter where they can receive the best care and protection.
Be sure to discuss the procedures with your loved ones and address any fears or concerns with them. Help put their mind at ease and prevent panic or distress when it’s time to execute your plan. Their safety, along with your own safety, is the end goal; you can never be too prepared.