Over the Weekend we were under several Tornado Warnings. We were okay but several other people lost their homes and sadly some lost their lives due to Severe Weather
Are you Weather Ready?
Severe weather can strike at any time, Cyclones, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Fires, Earthquakes, Ice & Snow storms can all catch us unaware if have not taken appropriate precautions prior to their arrival.
With advanced weather technology and warning systems in place, most weather bureaus of meteorology have advanced warning of potentially dangerous systems that might be approaching.
Don’t wait till Emergency Services are telling you to Evacuate
Having lived through floods and tornadoes, and been on alert for ice & snow storms, it is a frightening experience even for the brave at heart when you are in the midst of it and warning sirens are going off around you. By this stage it is too late to get supplies together, you need to get to a safe place and stay there until the event has passed and hope and pray you still have a house left standing at the end of it. In the case of Cyclones & Hurricanes, you may be under mandatory evacuation orders and often it is too late at this stage to scramble to get supplies together to leave.
If you prepare months ahead of time, you have the security and comfort of knowing you are ready and prepared for these severe weather events.
A pantry or interior cupboard or room in the house furthest away from the exterior walls of the house is the best place to have these items stored. Do not store food or essential items where you have glass items on shelves above them as the glass items may crash down in a weather event and deem your supplies unusable.
One of the biggest threats common to most severe weather events apart from flooding and heavy rains or aftershocks etc; are power outages. Power outages often occur during these events and could leave residents without power for days or weeks at a time.
Without power, we cannot do most things we take for granted; washing & drying clothes, cooking, heating/cooling, watching TV, using computers, telephones, no fridge or freezer to keep things cold etc. Communications become limited and normal day to day living can become a nightmare, especially if you have children or someone requiring medical devices. While some people have invested in generators, many do not own one. So how do we prepare for these events?
There are several things you can do ahead of time to prepare you and your family for emergencies.
If you add these items a few at a time when you do your regular grocery shopping, you won’t need to go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of items at one time and should have enough supplies to last a couple of weeks without power after a major weather event
Make sure you have enough supplies for every member of your family, babies and pets if you have them.
Make sure you have all of your medicines in stock (check the used by date is current) for each family member
At least one week supply minimum, a month supply would be better
Those with asthma need to make sure you have inhalers on hand as nebulizers will be of no use to you should the power go out
Over the counter medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine, headache tablets, allergy tablets, antibacterial ointment or spray, antibacterial wipes are a good starting point.
- First Aid Kit –
Most pharmacies supply first aid kits for around $25, you can also buy them online
Have a first aid kit ready and handy which should include the following basic items:
Disinfectant or antiseptic cleansing wipes
Sterile eye pads
Alcohol cleansing pads
Insect sting relief
First aid/burn cream
Aspirin or Tylenol
First aid tape & scissors
It is also an idea to have a first aid thermal blanket handy & women’s sanitary items such as tampons, pads etc
A battery operated radio with spare batteries will keep you in communication with the outside world, keep you informed of any other weather coming, and keep your sanity if you happen to be without power for days or weeks. A weather radio costs around $30-40 and can be purchased at most grocery or hardware stores. The good thing about these radios is they usually also have built in flashlights as well.
Emergency workers will be busy doing search and rescue, moving debris and power lines, they are not going to be able to door-knock to let you know what is going on outside. A radio will keep you up to date on what is going on, search and recovery progress, information the public need to know, where evacuation shelters have been set up , etc….presuming you don’t have power or a TV to keep up to date.
- Water & Food
Make sure you have enough bottled water for all family members plus extra for hygiene and cooking
After severe weather events occur water supplies can become unsanitary and limited in supply if power stations have been damaged.
Keep food in a dry, cool spot, out of the sun
Avoid salty, fatty or high protein foods
Keep a supply of non-perishable tinned food: Fruits, vegetables, meat, spaghetti, soups that are not concentrated, ready to eat cereals and energy bars, dried fruit, dry crackers are good starters.
Manual can opener
Disposable utensils, disposable plates & garbage bags if you have room.
If you have an outdoor grill, make sure you always have a full propane tank and a spare. If the power goes out this may be your only means of being able to cook or heat up food or boil water.
- Other Supplies
Flashlights and spare batteries
Hand sanitizer or wipes
Baby Formula, diapers, wipes, baby food and supplies for 2 weeks for those with young children/infants
An emergency whistle
Underwear for ea family member, this is one of the first things people ask for when they’ve been without power for days or lost everything in an emergency situation
If you have room to also store tarps, these come in very handy for repairing roofs and windows after severe weather damage
Pet owners should also have enough pet food on hand – two week supply would be handy
Address books with phone numbers of family/friends
Personal Identification & Papers
In absolute extreme emergencies, it may only be possible to take with you one bag or box of belongings with you. It is imperative you have identification for each family member. Often after emergencies, areas are declared disaster zones and only those with proof of residence have access back into affected areas. Make sure you always carry your driver’s license, have your social security numbers, house, contents and car insurance papers, your birth & marriage certificates and passports and health insurance cards in a safe place ready to go with you. Take your resumes if you have room and family photos. These things are irreplaceable.
If time permits and you have room, make sure you have a change of clothes for each family member.
The other thing to keep on hand is a small supply of cash. If the power is out, Atms will be down and online banking will not be available in stores and petrol stations. Those with cash may be the only ones able to buy petrol or food.
Do not leave it to the last minute to get things together. If you have these items in place all year round, you won’t be caught off guard. Many people panic buy at the last minute and store shelves become empty of essential items.
If you hear you may be getting weather, make sure you have a safety plan in place and everyone in the house knows where to go. Have an internal safe place and an external meeting place should you become separated.
Contact a family member that does not live with you to let them know where you will be
Fully charge Cell phones & keep your charger with you
Make sure you have a full tank of petrol in your car. Not only is this a good idea if you need to evacuate (there will be a rush on petrol during emergencies and supplies will be limited and more expensive than usual), but in severe cold weather with power outages, the car heater can also keep you warm and dry should you run out of firewood or heating.
After Power Outages:
- Disconnect appliances
- Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers. Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door remains closed. If the freezer is half full, food will generally keep 24 hours.
- Stay away from downed lines and always assume they are ‘live’