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Disaster Preparedness – Hurricane Season

by Ryan Guina

Hurricane season is about to be upon us and I thought this would be a good time to make a list of things to have in the event of a natural disaster. This is good not only for hurricanes, but for other natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

Many times natural disasters strike with little to no warning, so it is a very good idea to make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy and  flood insurance are up to date and prepare an emergency kit in advance. It is also a good idea to have your important documents and medications in an easy to access location.

Prepare an Emergency Kit for Disasters

How to prepare for a hurricaneHere are some important things to have ready for your emergency kit in the event of a natural disaster:

  • A plan: know where you will go, where you will meet up with family members, and how to handle different situations.
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered or hand cranked radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Extra clothing, blankets, etc.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Misc: Matches and waterproof container, whistle, kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener, other items to meet your unique family needs.
  • Emergency contact names and phone numbers.

Items in Addition to Your Emergency Kit

The following items should also be readily available to take with you in a moment’s notice. These are just as important as the items in the emergency kit, but it is not always practical to keep them in the kit itself:

Important documents:

  • Wills
  • titles
  • deeds
  • financial papers
  • birth certificates
  • powers of attorney
  • photocopies of credit and identification cards, etc. (unless you keep them in a safe deposit box at your bank).
  • Important photographs, keepsakes, jewelry, and other easily portable valuables.

Medical:

  • Copies of each family member’s health insurance card and medical records.
  • List of each family member’s primary care manager, other doctors names and phone numbers for each.
  • List of each family member’s prescription medications and their doses, in case they need to be replaced.
  • List of each family member’s allergies.
  • A properly-stored 30-day supply of all prescription medications for each family member, including insulin (proper storage to keep it cool).
  • Nonprescription drugs, such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxatives, bug spray, itch control, etc.
  • List of medical devices’ style/model and serial numbers, such as pacemakers.
  • Misc: Extra eyeglasses, contacts, solution, hearing-aid batteries, extra wheelchair batteries or other special equipment.

After the Natural Disaster

how to file a FEMA claim at disasterassistance.govBe sure to have a plan to meet with your family members. A good way to do this is to set a meeting time and place, and a way to communicate with each other. This can be via cell phone, email, or even social media. It’s also a good idea to have a list of federal aid agencies where you can get assistance if needed. This includes things like finding temporary shelter, getting food and water, or even filing a FEMA claim.

No one ever wants to be involved in a natural disaster, but a little preparation and planning will help you and your family make it through one of these trying events.

Photo credit: USDAgov

Sources: FEMA and www.af.mil


Published or updated October 31, 2012.
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