Weather Emergency Preparedness

How to Prepare your Family for a Weather Emergency

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What do you need for a weather emergency?

Living in the Southeast U.S., hurricanes have been a normal part of my life. Prior to becoming a mother,whenever we were notified about a potential hurricane, I would go to the store to buy wine, bread, and milk. Then, binge watch t.v. during the storm. Now that we are in the midst of hurricane season and there is a record setting storm coming towards us in the Atlantic Ocean, my perspective about riding out storms has changed.

My anxiety has increased and I cannot shake the feeling that I am not prepared enough for my daughter. Questions like, “Do I have enough diapers and wipes? or what am I going to do if electricity is lost and I have a freezer full of frozen breast milk?” keeps replaying in my mind. I realized that I am not the only mother with these questions or concerns. After putting together my emergency kit, I decided to create a weather emergency checklist for families. This list will be used to help make sure that I am better prepared in the future, but to also help support other families who may be dealing with a weather emergency for the first time.

1. Pack all important documents in a zip lock bag.

In the case of a weather related emergency, you should have your family’s identification, birth certificates, insurance cards, insurance documents, and a list containing important phone numbers and necessary medical information in a Ziploc bag and in an easily accessible location. If you have to leave your home unexpectedly, these documents will be readily available. During past weather emergencies, I have kept these documents in my purse or backpack throughout the duration of the weather event.

2. Flashlights and back up batteries.

One day recently I was organizing my house and found several flashlights with backup batteries scattered throughout my house. For a while, whenever we were forecasted to have a major weather event, I would purchase a new flashlight and batteries without realizing I already had several. Needless to say, flashlights or a lantern are very important if you lose electricity for extended amounts of time. Flashlights can also be used to provide entertainment to children and decrease their anxiety about being in the dark.

3. Double freeze breast milk

One of my biggest concerns about the potential hurricane was losing my freezer stash of breast milk. I saw a tip online about putting frozen bags of breast milk into a larger freezer bag and filling it with water and freezing it again. Also, make sure all of your frozen milk is in the cooler, back portion of your freezer and that your freezer is full of items, even if it’s frozen bags of ice. If you lose electricity, this will allow your freezer items to stay frozen longer.

4. Wash all clothing prior to the storm

You definitely do not want your family having to put on dirty clothing if you lose power for several days. Make sure all clothing is clean and organize them into complete outfits so that they will be easy to grab and go in case of an emergency.

5. Have one week worth of supplies available

Have one week worth of supplies available. It is also better to be over prepared than under prepared. Prior to the storm be sure to have plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, bottle water, and of course snacks and wine! If a storm causes significant damage to your area, it may take a couple of days to get government assistance. Having one week of supplies can lifesaving in the case of an extreme event.

6. Pack an emergency bag

In the case of a weather emergency, my day job can require me to be gone from my home for several days. When I was first put on alert for this current event, I packed a bag with five days of clothing and supplies. Some of my area was also put under mandatory evacuations. So, I also set aside 5 days of clothing and supplies for my family. I did not put my family’s stuff in a suitcase, but had it in a convenient location that could quickly be packed up in the event of an emergency.

7. Create an emergency plan

None of us want to think about evacuating our homes as a result of a hurricane or other natural disaster. This week I found myself thinking a lot about our evacuation plan and lack thereof. I realized how important a plan is if I am separated from my family and we have quickly leave the area.

8. Plan games and activities

Have games and other activities for the family that do not require electricity. I know I am guilty of relying on electronics and t.v. for entertainment. Plan out activities that the children can enjoy alone. Consider activities that can be done together as a family too. This can make a very stressful situation a little easier to deal with. Plus you will be able to enjoy quality family time with your little ones.

9. Fill containers with water

Prior to a weather emergency, fill large containers and all bathtubs with water. This water can be used for pets, to flush toilets, and for other needs. You never know if water will become unavailable after a storm. Also freeze Ziploc bags of water. This can be used to keep your freezer cool of the power goes out and later as drinking water.

Being over prepared during a weather emergency can help save your life if a storm suddenly becomes an emergency. During the last couple of years, the U.S. has seen some significant weather events that have been devastating to many families. These weather emergencies have taught me to do a little planning ahead of time so that my family can remain safe in case of an emergency. Having a severe weather action plan and checklist can help you to be prepared in case of an unexpected weather emergency.

Do you have an emergency checklist? What do you have on it? Did you find this helpful? Please comment below. 

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