Since natural disasters can happen at any moment it is good to be prepared both mentally and physically. It is helpful to think of storm prep in a fire drill type aspect since weather can be so unpredictable, causing panic at the last minute. Here are some preparation tips:
- Fluids-Obviously, right? The suggested amount of water is approximately a gallon a day per person for 3 days (two weeks if possible). Just make sure to store it in a good place because if flooding occurs even unopened water will need to be thrown out. Because water has a good shelf life why not stay stocked up in advance, as opposed to fighting the crowds to find empty pallets? If you do find yourself in a bind, go for juices and meal replacement drinks with low added sugar since sugars can assist in dehydration. It is also suggested to fill tubs and sinks with water for washing dishes, bathing, and flushing the toilets.
- Food-For this last Tropical Storm, I passed the empty sections of aisles where bread and Vienna Sausage used to be. People looked nervous about what to eat. While those are classic hurricane foods, this is a time when it is a plus the number of processed foods that are on the shelves. Especially if you own a non-electric can opener and bbq pit. This makes heating up things like beans easy. You could also warm water to cook things like oatmeal or mac-n-cheese. A small generator can make using small appliances such as a crockpot and panini press easy. Because of power outages, heat, and humidity, you may not feel like cooking much. Chilled foods, such as yogurt or boiled eggs, are nutritious options as well if you plan on having an ice chest.
- Freeze half of your liquids beforehand to act as ice. Frozen juice pouches can make delicious slushy treats to cool off.
- Check for expired medications-This is one lesson I will not forget due to my most recent experience. I found myself driving through rain passing a slanted electrical pole and over a flooded coulee bridge to get my toddler Claritin and Benedryl gel for an allergic reaction. God bless the woman working at CVS!
- Prep your home-collect and anchor/tie up any patio furniture, trampolines, etc. If living in an area often affected by flooding then the less stuff the better. Keep valuables off of the ground, but remember a tornado could rip the roof off and ruin them anyway so keepsakes and such should really be kept in safes or waterproof containers. Make sure to have sandbags handy. We purchased plywood and cinder blocks with the use of a few sandbags to help keep water out of our front entryway. If you find yourself short of sandbags then fill heavy-duty garbage bags with soil or other non-buoyant items. Do not forget to leave room for exiting at one doorway so you can escape if need. It can be a plus to have mold fighting cleaners in stock so that if flooding happens cleaning can start straight away.
- Pack a bag-Include one lightweight outfit per person(extra undies of course)sealed in gallon ziplock bags. In another ziplock bag have important documents that you may need if evacuated. A small first aid kit may come in handy (include important meds) Have a smaller ice chest or lunch box ready to bring pack a few bottles of water and snacks to hold you over in case disaster relief is stalled.
- Know the dangers-Research safety precautions when it comes to turning off the breaker box and the dangers of electric shock in floodwaters. Cover open cuts/sores with waterproof bandages to avoid flesh-eating bacteria. Try to avoid splashes of floodwater in the nostrils. Also, be cautious flooded water causes dangerous animals such as snakes, spiders, ants, mice, and even alligators to look for safety which just might be your home.
Hopefully, you have found these tips helpful. If you are able, once you have yourself taken care of, reach out to any elders, disabled, and pregnant neighbors (that have husbands offshore or overseas) to ensure they will be safe. Remember, your headache is someone else’s Godsend.