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How to Prepare for a Storm No Matter Where You Live

In the past few decades, we have experienced more storms of all kinds. Hurricanes certainly have increased in number as well as escalated in force. And in just the last few days, snow has battered many areas of the country, including places in the southwest that have never experienced such storms before this winter. While this blog post has been written with storms in mind, these storm preparation notes could also be used, with a little tweaking, in cases of wildfire evacuations and earthquake preparedness.

There are many recommendations available online for any kind of crisis prep. Some are tailored to an area of the country and some to the type of crisis. Here, we will provide general preparedness tips for storms, just to get you started. With the potential loss of power and water, as well as evacuation possibilities, here are some things to think about:

Have a plan

Many people count buying candles, having a charging battery for their phones, and extra canned goods as being prepared. But there are many things to consider, including:

1. Physically prepare your home.

2. Collecting what you need for your pets.

3. Check on relatives and neighbors.

4. Know the locations of local shelters.

5. Have an easy-to-carry lockbox that is fire and water-resistant with your most important papers in it, in case you must evacuate.

6. Make sure to have a written or typed plan, safely secured in a plastic bag, and keep it where it is easy to get to in case of emergency.

7. If your town or area has an emergency plan, keep a copy with your personal plan.

8. Assign everyone in the family a task they will complete in case of emergency to keep them focused and anxiety down.

Non-perishables for emergencies

You might have room to stash them in the back of your pantry, or maybe a dedicated shelf in the basement, but you should have non-perishables at hand. These should be checked regularly, whether monthly or twice a year, establish a routine around checking on these supplies. At the very least, know when hurricane season or winter storm season usually starts and make a point of checking on supplies the month before. You don’t want to grab expired, bulging canned goods or moldy pet food if you need to evacuate.

Here are some recommended non-perishables to keep stocked in case of power outages, loss of water, or evacuations:

1. Gallons and bottles of water, enough for three days.

2. Canned goods–and a can opener!

3. Pet food and treats.

4. Snacks like nuts and dried fruit.

5. Teabags, drink mixes, and instant coffee.

Power and Light

No one likes to be left in the dark or in uncomfortable temperatures. Here are a few things to make sure you have on-hand in case the power goes out:

1. Batteries of various sizes.

2. Candles and matches in a plastic bag to keep them dry.

3. Camp lamps and liquid paraffin, which does not burn if it spills.

4. Flashlights.

5. Headlamps for crafters and readers.

6. Portable batteries that can at least charge phones, iPads, and tablets.

7. Battery-powered radio or weather radio for updates.

8. Dry, stacked wood if you have a fireplace or woodstove.

9. Depending on where and how you live, a generator might be in order.

Comfort items

These are items that distract everyone from boredom or bickering! These you could keep on a list and pull them together once a storm is predicted and might include:

1. Boardgames

2. Playing cards

3. Craft supplies, especially ones that can fit in a shoebox or small bag

4. A book or two, or a well-charged book reader with a backup charging battery

5. Coloring supplies

6. Blankets, sleeping bags, and favorite stuffed animals, if it applies to your family and time of year

7. Big cardigans or sweatshirts, preferably with pockets

8. Pet beds that can be pulled into the circle with the humans

Medical supplies

1. This includes daily meds for people and pets.

2. A well-stocked first-aid kit in an easy-to-carry case.

3. If your doctor is willing, extra medications in case power goes out and roads are unnavigable.

4. Medications anyone might need, like pain-relievers, fever reducers, and stomach relief.

5. If there are still protection requirements for COVID in place, take plenty of disposable masks and disposable gloves with you should you have to leave your house.

In the end, you are the one that knows your home, your family, and your pets the best. Survey your home to plan out whether windows should be covered in the event of a hurricane or other severe storm. Make sure your roof is checked periodically and provides complete weather protection. Gutters should be clear as well. Do you still have above-ground lines? Make sure there are no branches or trees that are close enough to impact them should the trees or branches come down. Bring all loose articles in from outside or secure them.

If it’s snow you are preparing for, make sure cold weather wear is in good shape, you have at least two shovels, and environmentally/pet friendly melt that can help keep sidewalks clear. Picture as many different scenarios as you can, and then prep for them. You’ll have peace of mind if you know you’ve done everything you can to keep your family safe, dry, and comfortable.

For more information on storm preparation, we recommend:

The Red Cross: Winter Storm Preparedness

National Weather Service: What to do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane

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