Crazy storms and Hurricane Preparedness
Yesterday marked the beginning of the hurricane season, and the storms that raged around my house yesterday evening DEFINITELY confirmed it! My 17-month-old son and I had just got home shortly after the rain started and then suddenly large pieces of hail started pouring down from the sky. I stayed in my car with my son in my lap, waiting for a lull so that we could run inside. That lull never came. Instead, hard and fast wind started blowing straight to the west, sending the rain, hail, leaves, branches, and everything else tumbling into the house across the street. My fiance ran out of the garage into the storm, ripped open my car door, and yelled “GO! GO! GO!” Barely thinking, I grabbed my son and ran to the house without even turning the car off. I picked a spot away from our many windows and we just sat there in the dark listening to all the trees cracking around us, praying that none of the massive oak trees around our house would hit the roof.
We were very lucky. We had one large piece of tree in our backyard and one massive oak tree in our front yard that was halfway uprooted and poised to fall on the eastern part of the house. A little more wind and I think it would have went down. My neighbors had windows blown out, trees and power lines on their roofs, fences ripped down, and roads were blocked all around. No one had power.
It was only after the storm had quieted that I realized how ill-prepared we were for something like this. The storm only lasted about 30-45 minutes, but with upward of 60mph winds, it managed to do quite a bit of damage. We were sitting there with no power and I only had one scented candle, two head lamps, and a few batteries. Both of our cell phones were almost dead and we had no weather radio to find out what was happening around us. We had little food that didn’t have to be refrigerated or cooked. Since we use well water, no power also meant no water, and I didn’t have any bottled water in the house.
We were set up for disaster. What would happen if something larger were to hit our home? What could we do to be more prepared next time?
I thought I might try to find the answer to some of those questions today and share them with you, our customers and our neighbors, so that we all might be a little safer and better prepared this hurricane season. It only takes ONE bad storm to ruin your day, and possibly your life!
It turns out Hurricane Preparedness Week was May 24th – May 30th! That’s OK, that doesn’t mean that we can’t start now. Fortunately for us, the United States National Weather Service teamed up with the National Hurricane Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create these awesome Hurricane Preparedness Public Service Announcements:
At Ready.gov, I learned the steps to being prepared are to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. You can make a plan at flgetaplan.com, where they ask for information and then you can print off your plan. Ready.gov is a great resource to learn about the different kinds of emergencies and how to respond to them.
Here is the recommended Supply list from FEMA.
I printed off the supply list and headed over to our Winter Garden Ace Hardware store to find what I needed. Here’s what I came out with:
Two Coast battery powered lanterns. These are on sale for only $12.99 in our stores right now until June 21st, 2015! What I like about them is that not only do they use really bright energy saving LEDs, there are three levels of brightness, and it also glows red and flashes red for emergency warning/signal lighting. Perfect for emergencies!
Two 8-packs of Duracell “C” batteries to go with the lanterns. These are also on sale in store for $12.99 (only until June 21st). I got one pack to go in the lanterns and another to keep as a spare. These things are guaranteed to store for 10 years without losing battery life!
Three whistles on lanyards, one for each member of our family, to signal for help.
A can opener so that were able to open our cans of non-perishables.
A small bottle of bleach to disinfect water. Clorox actually has instructions on their website on how to use their bleach to disinfect water. For the concentrated bleach, it’s 6 drops per gallon. I plan on taping the instructions to the bottle with a medicine dropper.
A pack of 20 N95 Particulate Respirators to protect your lungs from inhaling dust, particles, debris, and other contaminants. Look for “NIOSH N95″ on the package; the “N95″ is a government efficiency rating that means the mask blocks about 95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger.
A box of 300 strike anywhere matches. I plan to keep these dry by making this awesome canning jar with sandpaper top (for striking the matches).
One can of Off! Deep Woods. Just in case we’re stuck outside.
A roll of duct tape and 2mil thick plastic sheeting (not pictured) for “sheltering-in-place”. I didn’t know what that was at first, but the ready.gov website says “There may be circumstances when staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as “sealing the room,” is a matter of survival. ”
I also special ordered this amazing weather radio by Eton – it can be recharged by hand crank or solar power, or can be used with batteries or AC Power. It has an AM/FM radio and the NOAA weather band. You can plug an MP3 player into it too! It has a light source as well as a flashing red emergency light, has illuminated buttons AND glows in the dark. It has a USB phone charger port and headphone jack. All in all, it’s a perfect little weather radio/power source, and I can’t wait to get it.
Other great items to put in your kit – a first aid kit, local maps, cash, prescription medication and glasses, personal hygiene items, a mess kit, paper cups and plates, utensils, paper towels, paper and pencil, a change of clothing, and books and games. And of course, enough non-perishable food and water to last at least three days.
I threw everything in a large tote and put it in our spare bedroom closet for the next time we have a rainy day.
I really hope this helps you plan for a disaster and that you and your families have a safe 2015 hurricane season!
A little bit about the Toole’s Ace Hardware Blogger:
My name is Susan, and I work at Toole’s Ace Hardware doing, well, a little bit of everything. I’ve worked for the Toole’s for a little over ten years doing everything from running a cash register to managing several different stores and now to writing this blog. I also spend my spare time inspiring DIYers and fixer uppers on our Pinterest boards, and connecting with our customers on Facebook. If you ever need anything, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to help!