Dealing with a natural disaster can be very devastating.
Storms are scary. My condolences to anyone whom has ever lost a loved one during a natural disaster.
If you are experiencing property damage or displacement, I know it’s one of the worse feelings in the world. You may be feeling helpless and disheveled. Your emotions are running high and you can’t possibly begin to know the next step to take.
But, in the midst of it all don’t forget how fortunate and blessed you are to have your family safe by your side and intact.
Count your blessings to help keep your sanity and you will pull through this.
In the wake of the current unfortunate events in Houston, the arrival of Irma, the anniversary of Katrina and my own personal experience with Isabel in 2003, I have constructed this list of items needed during a natural disaster.
- Keep Nonperishable Foods On Hand
When snow visits the south or when the weather calls for a really bad storm all the bread and milk go missing from many area grocery stores.
I never understood the meaning of this. Is everyone just sitting up eating toast and drinking milk? And if the power goes out how will you keep the milk from going bad or make toast for that matter?
Here’s a more practical list of foods that I keep stocked when the weather man warns of dangerous conditions:
Can goods such as tuna, beans, soup, veggies and peanut butter (the bread may come in handy for this). You can try any other nonperishable items you can think of.
I remember during Isabel the city provided a service by handing out food vouchers to anyone in need of replacing large amounts of spoiled frozen food.
This may be a service available in your city if you find yourself in a similar situation.
- Invest In A Good Generator
I’ve never owned a generator before but I’m thinking about buying one.
A few of my neighbors are proud owners of generators. Whenever the power fails the definitely come in handy.
My entire block has been without power for about half a week.
We once had a storm hit on a Friday one year. I packed up the food from my freezer in reusable shopping bags. My frozen goods got relocated to the freezer at work.
To prevent another food traveling extravaganza I have been looking at a few generators at my local Lowes and The Home Depot.
- Collect Plenty Of Workable Flash Lights, Candles (With Matches/Lighters) And Batteries
Underneath my kitchen sink there sits a plastic container with a lid. In it I have flash lights, batteries and candles.
I created this easy grab and go kit after I found myself without power for close to two weeks during Hurricane Isabel.
I wasn’t prepared at that time.
I scrambled to find a flash light when the lights went out. When I finally did the thing needed new batteries.
When I finally got a chance to go by more batteries that turned out to be even a bigger problem because every store in the city had sold out.
Once was enough. I didn’t want to go through that again.
A few months later I paid the Dollar Tree a visit. I purchased a container, flash lights and plenty of batteries so I would be prepared for the next storm season.
Now I just grab the container from the kitchen cabinet when we are experiencing a power outage.
- Buy Gallons of Water for Various Uses.
Have enough water to last for a few weeks to a month. For drinking and many other uses. During a natural disaster sometimes the water supply cuts or isn’t safe to drink.
From what I know water doesn’t go bad. At least not in a few weeks. Water is cheap, especially the gallons they sale at the super market.
You can really stack up in case the water isn’t safe to drink after a storm hits. Avoid price hikes if a shortage occurs during the aftermath.
Also having enough water in stock to share with your neighbors or family can be a nice gesture.
- Stay Connected With Phone Service And A Radio
If you don’t have a land line phone then make sure you have a variety of phone chargers.
When a power outage strikes use a solar charger, a car charger and some of those portable charging sticks.
If you find yourself without a proper charger and need to use your cell phone visit your local library.
Don’t forget to have a list of important numbers written down somewhere safe. Just as a backup if you aren’t able to get into your phone’s contacts and have to use another phone.
Owning a radio provides entertainment as well as important information by way of the news. An inexpensive portable radio usually takes C or D batteries so have plenty available.
Have you heard about the radio made especially for use during power outages? You can find this radio at many different retailers.
- Don’t Forget About First Aid Kits, Camping Supplies, Fire Escape Ladders, Fire Extinguishers, Life Jackets, Floatable Boats And Other Emergency Gear
Okay, that’s a lot. But you never know.
At the very least have a first aid kit. It’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher too.
Besides that just use judgment depending on your area and the severity of the storm being forecasted. You never know what to expect during the aftermath of a natural disaster.
For those of you who are campers these supplies could come in handy.
Stay cool by camping with the kids in the back yard. When the TV and video games loose power this might keep them entertained.
I go into more detail on how to occupy children in the next step.
- Have Fun Activities And Games Available For Your Kids
Explaining what’s happening during a storm can upset some children. They get scared, nervous or just plain old bored. Especially young ones under the age of 10.
Comfort and keep kids occupied with puzzles, board games and books. Your children may also love arts and craft projects.
I usually have a stack of activities to keep us entertained while safe in the house during a bad storm.
- Remember To Have A Plan For Your Pets
Will the shelters in your area accept pets? Is there a dog kennel in your area offering their services if your pets need to be housed or treated if injured during the storm?
These are good questions to get answers you. Check for answers with your local SPCA or veterinarian office.
You can also find more information on keeping your pets safe during a storm from this article by the humanesociety.org.
- Store All Important Papers Safely In An Essential Location
Locate and put all of your important documents in a safe place.
A fire proof box is best or use a giant Ziploc bag if you know flooding is a possibility. One last thing to worry about equals less stress.
Important papers may consist of home insurance policies, car titles, house deeds, birth certificates, passports and anything else that is irreplaceable. Be sure to gather every document needed for legal purposes if you should experience property damage.
- Ensure You Have An Evacuation Plan, Shelter Information And Enough Money Stashed Away For An Emergency
In the case of mandatory or emergency evacuation you want to have a plan as a family.
Know where the local shelters are in advance. In case you and your family must leave town try to have enough money set aside and saved for emergencies such as this one.
Do you live in a part of the county where hurricanes or tornados hit often? Think about starting a storm emergency fund.
Where to Donate
Below are a list of organizations where you can donate to the families and individuals effected by Harvey:
You can check this article out by the Rolling Stone. They have an extended list of local organizations to donate to in Texas.
If you have ever been in a natural disaster how do you prepare?