Posted: May 16, 2018
By Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Water, food, and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual's kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents..
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
Clothing and Bedding:
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
Below are some other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies.
Here are some safety tips emergency management and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are offering that could save your life during a hurricane:Evacuation
1. If you are ordered to evacuate, you need to evacuate. The best way to stay safe is to be away from the storm's landfall. The orders to evacuate are issued based on historical flood maps and the strength of the storm.
2. A Category 5 hurricane will bring “catastrophic damage,” officials with the National Hurricane Center warn, adding that “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
3. If you are in a mobile home, leave. Mobile homes will not survive a Category 5 hurricane.
4. Do not leave your pets at home, especially if they are outside.
If you stay
If you choose not to evacuate, or cannot leave, here are a few things you should do:
1. Get in a more secure room in your home – a closet or a bathroom without a window.
2. Stay on the bottom floor of your home unless water is rising.
3. Do not go into your attic to escape rising water because you could get trapped. If you absolutely have to get in the attic to survive rising water, make sure you take an ax with you so you can cut a hole in the roof to escape.
4. If you are in an area that will flood, turn off electricity at the main breaker before water gets in your home to reduce the risk of electrocution.
5. Of course, do not try to go outside during the storm. Pieces of buildings, roofs, trees and other objects will be flying through the air.
6. Do not use candles as a light source – flashlights are what you need to use.
7. When you lose power, click here to see how you can use the internet.
During or after the storm
1. Do not use a generator during a storm.
2. Never use portable generators inside a home, in your garage, in your basement or in a crawl space.
3. Generators produce carbon monoxide and if they are inside your house, your home can fill up with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide will kill you if you breathe too much of it. If you are using a portable generator to power appliances in your home following the storm, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm. Appliances should be plugged directly into a generator. Do not hook the generator to your household electrical system. You can hurt yourself and kill utility workers when they begin to reconnect electricity to homes.
4. Do not get anywhere near standing water. It could contain live electric wires. If you come in contact with it, you could be electrocuted. If you see wires on the ground after the storm, assume they are live.
The 5 ‘p’s of evacuation
Don’t’ go farther than you have to
Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean begins June 1 and runs until Nov. 30. Officials agree that the best way to avoid catastrophic damage is to be proactive.
"Advance planning and preparation are essential for protecting property, reducing risk and ultimately saving lives," National Weather Service officials said in the introduction the NWS hurricane guide for the Southeast.
Charley English, former director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security said in a news release from 2014: "Learn your flood risk, create a ready kit for your home and car, and develop an evacuation and family communications plan."
GEMA said in that release that research shows "69 percent of Georgians do not know designated evacuation routes from their community, and 67 percent have not arranged a family meeting place or reconnection plan."
Ready Georgia provides a host of tools and information at its website.
It recommends evacuation:
• If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
• If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
• If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
• If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
• You should be able to move your valuables within 15 minutes.
Here are more tips to help you prep for the storms, from the NWS guide.
• Elevation matters: Are you in a flood or evacuation zone?
• Mobile homes: Check tie-downs and prepare to evacuate.
• Landscaping: Always trim trees, shrubbery and dead limbs, especially close to your home.
• Roofing: Inspect it for loose tiles, etc., and clear loose or clogged gutters and drainspouts.
• Doors: Reinforce garage doors and tracks or replace with a hurricane-tested door; and reinforce double-entry doors with heavy-duty foot and head bolts. Use security dead bolts with a minimum 1-inch bolt length.
• Windows: If possible, install hurricane shutters. Alternatively, use five-eighths inch (or greater) grade exterior plywood secured by 2 1/2 inch screws and/or special clips.
• Renters need to prepare, too: Review your renter's and flood insurance; prepare to relocate to a lower floor
• For pets: Update their vaccinations and have proof; have a current photo; have properly sized pet carriers; pack enough food and water for the duration of the evacuation; and be sure to have proper ID collars. Read more.
The NWS also recommends preparing emergency evacuation kits for functional and medical needs clients, those clients who either require support to maintain their independence or support of trained medical professionals.
• Contact information, including doctor's contact
• Special equipment, if needed; and a list with style and serial numbers of included medical devices
Here are five things the National Weather Service recommends to prepare for hurricane season, which starts June 1:
1. Be aware of risks in your area: Hurricanes can bring flooding and damaging winds, including tornadoes, to the area. Store outdoor objects such as patio furniture, trash cans or grills before they become deadly missiles during high winds. Move outdoor furniture and valuables to higher ground before flooding.
2. Assemble disaster supplies: Think about surviving the storm’s aftermath, too. Disaster supplies should include a week’s worth of nonperishable food, water and medicine for each person in your household, as well as extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Consider getting a crank- or solar-powered charger for your cellphone.
3. Get an insurance checkup: See if you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, which requires a separate policy. Act now, because flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.
4. Check on your neighbors: Because we often rely on neighbors after a disaster, use this week to start a conversation about neighborhood strategies.
5. Complete a written plan: Determine your emergency evacuation plan and assemble your contact list. Take photos of your valuables, including photos of serial numbers. Keep your important documents together for quick access.
The beginning of June means the start of another hurricane season, and this season got a head start with Tropical Storm Alberto, which brought deadly flooding to Florida and the Southeastern United States this week.
During the official 2018 hurricane season June 1 through Nov. 30, weather experts are predicting normal or above-average trends. A normal season consists of about seven hurricanes.
“There are no strong climate signals saying it’s going to be extremely active, like last year, or extremely weak,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Gerry Bell told reporters last month.
The NOAA expects a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 storms, five to nine of which would be strong enough to be recognized as hurricanes and one to four as major hurricanes, which means a category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Researchers at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, who issued an extended-range forecast for 2018 in April, expect a total of 14 storms, including seven hurricanes, three of which may be major.
Forecasters at another university, North Carolina State, also predict at least 14 storms, seven to 11 of which would be hurricanes. Three to five, they estimate, could be major hurricanes.
Last year, most researchers expected an above-average hurricane season, but not an extreme one. Unfortunately, 2017 was one of the most catastrophic and extreme hurricane seasons on record, with fatalities estimated near 5,000 due to Hurricane Maria.
So, it’s safe to say there’s some uncertainty about this season’s estimates.
“It’s hard to predict the number of hurricanes because they’re formed by a complicated interplay of climate and weather variables,” Vox reported. “Yes, warm waters are a key ingredient to fuel storms. But hurricanes are also influenced and steered by massive global trends in weather that are hard to predict.”
Such trends include the warming or cooling of waters in the Pacific Ocean, patterns of the weather system Madden-Julian oscillation, which makes thunderstorms more likely and temperature variations between the surface and the atmosphere more extreme.
What 2018 taught climate scientists is that hurricanes are getting much wetter with increased rainfall and warming waters.
Recent research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research also found that wetter storms are in our planet’s future. And climate change, including human-induced climate change, has amplified the storms, experts said.
In fact, scientist Karin van der Wiel, who co-authored “Environmental Research Letters” said she could not have predicted a storm like Hurricane Harvey for thousands of years. But now, the likelihood of such events has changed.
“It’s between 1 1/2 and five times more likely now than in preindustrial times,” she told Vox.
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials warn that coastal areas in Georgia may experience serious damage due to impending storm surge, rainfall, winds and tornadoes.
FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that residents should prepare by doing simple things such as coming up with a family plan and being financially prepared.
You never know when an emergency can strike, but it is best to prepare before an emergency, instead of scrambling during and after one.
Emergency management leaders encourage individuals and families to have a plan in the event of a disaster. People, according to some experts, should prepare to survive on their own for seven to 10 days. Here's Washington’s King County Department of Emergency Management's suggestions on how to make an emergency kit on a budget for individuals and families.
Take the time to think about your daily activities. What do you need to do to ensure that you are able to recover from a disaster that disrupts your life? Do you have pets? Below are basics for a checklist.
• 1 gallon per person per day
• Non-perishable food with a long shelf-life
• Consider products that do not require cooking
• Food items you like to eat
• Light-sources that are battery powered or hand-cranked
• Portable radio and extra batteries (a great way to stay informed)
• Have alternate means to charge electronics, such as your phone or computer
• At least one extra pair of warm clothing
• Rainproof outer clothing and boots to keep you dry
• Comfortable, sturdy shoes in case you need to walk long distances
First Aid kit
• Basic items, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, and pain-relief medication
• Prescriptions and personal medical equipment
In addition to the checklist above, it is important for your family to discuss how to contact one another, reunite, and respond during different situations. A good family emergency plan should include:
• A home meeting spot
• An out-of-area contact
• Public safety phone numbers for your area (police, fire, hospital)
• Reunification location, if you can’t make it to your home
Each family member should keep personal and emergency phone numbers in a safe place, such as your wallet or emergency kit. They should also know alternative methods for contacting each other if phone lines are down, and for traveling to your reunification location. Deciding these details in advance will help make you calmer during a disaster.
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