Preparing for Severe Weather

In May 2013, Moore, Okla., experienced one of the fiercest, EF5 tornadoes in history. With the constant threat and news coverage of devastating storms, everyone must take a proactive approach in preparation for dealing with severe weather emergencies. One of the best ways to ensure your safety and security before the storm lies in having an emergency response plan in place that is tailored to your family. This plan includes an emergency preparedness kit, a written plan of action, and frequent family meetings to discuss the plan.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: The Bag

Most choose a duffel bag, or backpack, to use for building an emergency preparedness kit. The choice depends largely on the number of items added to the bag, but it must be easy to take with you in an emergency. Choose an emergency bag of a bright color, so you can see it easily in case of power outages.

Your kit needs to have an emergency supply, enough for seven-days, of any medications, supplements, or medical devices used for medications, which may include syringes or alcohol preps. Some medications require refrigeration. Place the emergency supply of refrigerated medications in a resealable, clear bag in the door of the refrigerator. If you have an emergency you can quickly grab the refrigerated medications and the emergency bag.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: First Aid & Flashlights

Every emergency kit needs include the materials common to any first aid kit: gauze, bandages, alcohol, peroxide, elastic wraps, tweezers, cotton balls, cotton-tipped applicators, hydrocortisone ointment, and triple-antibiotic ointment. Some, who live in wooded areas, find calamine lotion and bug-spray beneficial to include in the kit. If you are stuck outside, you don’t want to be fighting galaxies of mosquitoes with only your bare hands. Additionally, you need to include a high-beam, long-lasting flashlight since power outages may exist after severe weather.

Plan of Actions: At Home or Away

Each plan needs to address how to respond in differing situations whether at home or away. If someone experiences a storm-related emergency during commute, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a template for designing this part of the plan. In each of the plan types, identify areas to meet with other family members at a location away from home. Many choose easily identifiable places, such as hospitals, churches, or schools. You will need to determine the best evacuation routes from your home or place of business.

Discuss the Plan

Meeting with your family to talk over the plan allows you to address any concerns about how to respond in the event of an emergency. You need to know that all family members understand expectations and the plan of action. Print out copies of the plan to pass out to family members during this meeting. Some find making small, laminated cards with emergency contact information and basic plan information helpful. While the meeting times can vary, you need to review them frequently during times when severe weather is more prevalent, especially for those people living in Tornado Alley.

In order to prevent panic, and quite-possibly tragedy, you must have a plan of action prior to facing dangerous, severe weather. While Meteorologists offer excellent insight and advice into response for tornadic weather systems, your family still needs to know how what they must do. Creating an emergency response plan gives your family the best chance for surviving one of these detrimental events.

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