Prepare for a Weather Disaster

It is important to be prepared for anything that life throws at you. For instance, you need to study for that tough math test or practice your big speech scheduled for next week or even rehearse your lines for the school play. Those tough football drills help you prepare for the big game, and that musical instrument isn’t going to learn to play itself. Whatever it is, you need to prepare. A weather disaster is no exception. Mother Nature is constantly bombarding us with dangerous, life-threatening and sometimes unpredictable weather. Families and individuals need to be prepared for winter storms, severe wind, large hail, tornadoes, flash floods, drought, wildfires, hurricanes and extreme heat or cold. You could be the leader in your family to get prepared for these types of weather phenomena. Getting you and your family prepared can reduce fear and anxiety and potentially save lives. First, you are going to need a Family Disaster Plan before disaster strikes. Can you answer these three simple questions if a disaster hits your community?

1.Who to call?
2.Where to meet?
3.What to pack?

They seem easy right? However, many families overlook the importance of answering these three questions. A Family Disaster Plan is something you can discuss at the dinner table or even in the car. The important thing is to discuss and finalize a plan and not wait until a disaster occurs.

WHO TO CALL?
No, not the Ghostbusters. Chances are high that you and your family might be separated after a disaster strikes. You might be at school and your parents at work. This is why it is important to have a list of emergency phone numbers readily available. This includes your immediate family members, grandparents, neighbors and even some friends or other relatives. Having numbers to out-of-town contacts is beneficial because local phone lines might be too busy or broken, and they might be the only ones you can reach to let someone know that you are OK.

WHERE TO MEET?
Pick a local landmark that your entire family is familiar with, and that is where you go in case phone lines (and other communication methods) are not working. Keep the location simple, like a local church, business or a popular park in your town.

WHAT TO PACK?
An emergency supply kit is important because it might be the only thing you have left after a weather disaster. Some simple items like bottled water, a first-aid kit, a flashlight and spare batteries, a battery-operated radio, extra clothing (include shoes/socks!) and hygiene items like toilet paper are easy to store away in a tote. You should include nonperishable food such as canned food (don’t forget the opener), granola bars, peanut butter, beef jerky, uncooked pasta and even MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). You are certainly not limited to these food items, but figure out what works best for you and your family. This should help you answer the three questions. If you need help, visit ready.gov/make-a-plan or contact your local National Weather Service office.

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