When Hurricane Sandy or what was coined the “Frakenstorm” was rolling in, folks were scrambling to prepare. Many did not have the first idea about what they would need to ride out the storm and deal with the aftermath. While all of that is in the past, storms are a fact of life and as such, we must be prepared for the next big one, no matter where we live.
The following are five things you can do in the event a storm is heading your way.
1 – Get out of the way. That is pretty obvious and if you have the capability you should leave the area and avoid the storm altogether. The forces of nature is not something you want to argue with if you do not have to. If you can, take your family and leave. Do not worry about the material things, they are replaceable. Your loved ones are not.
2 – Shelter in place. If you cannot leave, you need to prepare to endure the wrath of the storm and all the aftermath. There are several things you can do t o fortify your home. You will also need to plan for your needs during and after the storm. A backpack filled with things to keep you warm, hydrated and fed is your first order of business. If you must evacuate, this is the bag you will be taking with you.
Grab a lot of clothes to put on in layers. Avoid anything that is cotton as it does not provide warmth when it gets wet. Choose clothing and blankets made with fleece, wool or polyproplyene. These layers of clothing are your defense against the elements. Rain gear is a bonus if you have it.
Pick one room, away from windows if possible and stay there with the family. Sleeping and huddling together will go a long way to keeping you warm.
Fill the bathtub with water to ensure you have water on hand. There is a pretty good chance tap water will be unavailable during and immediately following a major event. Use plastic containers to store as much water as possible. You will need a pot to boil water if you run out of stored water. Keep in mind, it is very dangerous to use any fossil fuel indoors. The vapors released when these are burned is toxic. If you can, use an outdoor grill to boil water.
Pack foods that are easily carried and provide plenty of energy. Dehydrated foods are ideal as well as meal replacement bars. These types of food provide maximum nutrition with very little space or weight. You need the calories to produce the energy required to stay alive. These items may not be gourmet, but they are edible and they are necessary.
3 – Be informed. Gather as much information as you can before the storm hits. Watch the news or listen to radio updates to learn as much as possible. Be prepared to be cut off from the world if and when phones go down and the electricity goes out. A radio that runs on battery or crank-style is an ideal choice to have. Do not leave the radio on for long periods. You don’t want to run the batteries out.
4 – Prepare to signal. You can signal for help from authorities using brightly colored sheets, spray paint and tarps. You will need colors that contrast with your immediate surroundings. If it is safe, a signal fire created with slightly damp material is a good way to notify authorities to your location. The damp material will create a lot of smoke, aiding in a visual identification.
5 – Prepare yourself mentally. Do not panic. Panic leads to rash decisions that could further jeopardize your situation. You have prepared. You can get through the situation if you keep your wits about you and act rationally. Planning ahead is crucial to survival. Talk with your family before the situation is upon you and you will all be more prepared to deal with a major storm. Focus on the positive and do what you can to take your mind off things. A deck of cards or a board game are great items to add to your preps.
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