Natural Disaster-Emergency Check-List
As a former Red Cross Volunteer & survivor of several hurricanes, natural disasters, evacuations, I recommend the following. For evacuation, riding out storms, etc. Some of these suggestions can be done now to better prepare you in the future. Please feel free to share this list.
Being prepared beats feeling afraid.
- Get car battery chargers for all cell phones. Multi-socket car chargers are great (approx $20). Plugs into your car lighter. Connects up to 5 electrical devices.
- Prep your car. Full tank of gas. Check oil, tires, battery. First Aid Kit.
- Get cash. If electricity goes out, so do ATMs, debit machines, grocery store & gas station registers.
- Stock-pile at least 2 weeks'-worth of snacks, non-perishable food, toiletries, prescriptions, pet food supplies. Everything you use every day. Don't forget the manual can-opener. Store items in "evac" area (closet, attic, garage).
- Water: 2 gallons water per person per day. 1 gallon to drink. 1 gallon to brush teeth, wash face, hands.
- Buy ice & use chest.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher works - car & home.
- Save important friends & family phone numbers as Speed-Dial #s.
- Check your local roads for good evacuation routes.
- Stock up on flashlight batteries & flashlights. Place in "evac" area.
- Create & discuss Emergency Procedures with loved ones & those living with you. Remind everyone,
- During emergency, TEXT don't CALL. Phone lines get too busy. Texting works better.
- Live in a Hurricane-prone area? Buy plywood to board up windows, doors before potential storm danger.
- Purchase inflatable beds. Shelters may not have ample supply. Good for road-travel & in case others hunker-down at your house.
- Have pets? If they get car-sick or experience anxiety, visit your vet for ideas on "stress relievers" during disasters. FYI: Red Cross Shelters beginning to accept pets now. Your vet will also know if shelters require pets in crates or just on-leash.
When Notified of Potential Danger
- When called to evacuate, do it! Evacuate early. Don't wait for weather updates. Natural disasters, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes can affect large areas. Waiting until the last minute to evacuate creates traffic flow, gas shortage problems and overall anxiety.
- If not told to evacuate, don't until authorities advise you.
- Fill up your gas tank. Prep your car (oil, tires, battery check, first aid kit).
- Buy ice for ice chests.
- Have at least 1-weeks'-worth of snacks, non-perishables, prescriptions (2-wks worth), pet food, pet medicine, etc. Things you use everyday. Hopefully already stocked in your "evac" area. 2 weeks' worth is best.
- Have at least 2 gallons/water per person per day. Stock up for at least 1 week. 2 weeks' stock is best.
- Candles, flashlights, battery-operated fans, food, water, water, water, pillows, blankets, board games, playing cards, charcoal, lighter fluid - evac or not.
- Get cash. Sometimes ATMs & stores are unable to process credit or debit card transactions during natural disasters. Credit card machines don't work when power out. Power outages occur even if the disaster is 50 miles away.
- Round up all cell phone chargers, put in 2-quart plastic bag, place in car trunk or glove box.
- Fill ice chests w/ice. Throw in food, drinks, etc.
- TEXT don't CALL. Networks can't handle too many calls, but TEXTS are OK. Plus texting allows emergency crews to communicate. If you text, you're allowing real emergency calls to get thru - could be a neighbor in trouble.
- If you're riding out storm, keep fridge CLOSED as much as possible.
- If riding out storm, make ice packets. Fill 2-qt plastic bags (w/zippers) with water, place in freezer.
- Put your meats in FREEZER. In case electricity goes out.
- If riding it out, assume you won't have power for at least 2 weeks.
- STAY CALM! Panicking is contagious & unnecessary. You'll survive.
- Be nice to your neighbors!
- Common sense hurricane tip: board up windows, doors if you live near water (w/in 50 miles from water).
- Take your pets with you! They get car-sick? give them Benadryl or purchase "Rescue Remedy" by Bach (herbal stress relief product - works great on animals).
- Use FB, Twitter, Social Media to stay in contact w/people. Cell towers will be OK - what hurts cell phone networks is deluge of phone calls.
- Make sure your car has a First Aid Kit (including flares & car care kit) and blankets, pillows in case you sleep on the road.
Being prepared minimizes panic & fear. Poorly managed disasters like Katrina were created by lack of preparedness, people not heeding authorities' warnings- guidance, causing panic. Like attracts like. If you're calm, you'll attract calm people. When you're calm & prepared for any emergency situation, you'll see the silver lining - an opportunity to build & re-build your relationships, remembering what's important - people.