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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disaster Preparedness: Hurricane

When a hurricane hits, winds in excess of 155 miles per hour can cause catastrophic damage. Emergency kits are an important piece of hurricane disaster preparedness.

What will your family will do if you happen to lie in the disaster path of a hurricane? Many victims of Hurricane Katrina remained in New Orleans without water, food or shelter days after the storm itself had passed. Government response time to the disaster was hindered by political processes and access to the region. You can be better prepared to survive a hurricane and other natural disasters by simply having on hand emergency kits from sources such as FoodInsurance.com.

If you live along the Atlantic coastline or the Gulf of Mexico costal areas — or up to several hundred miles inland, your disaster preparedness plan should take the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms very seriously. Parts of the Southwest U.S. and the Pacific Coast experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes in Mexico.

 

Hurricanes can produce widespread torrential rains. Floods are the deadly and destructive result. Slow moving storms and tropical storms moving into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for several days or more after the storm. Properly equipped with a disaster preparedness plan and emergency kits, your family will have the food your family needs to survive for up to two weeks.

Follow these basic steps to develop your family disaster preparedness plan:

  1. Gather information about hazards in your area. Find out how susceptible to hurricane disaster your area is and how you should respond. Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
  2. Meet with your family to create a disaster preparedness plan and make sure it includes emergency kits for the whole family. Discuss the information you've gathered. Choose a place outside your home to meet in the event of an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose a friend or relative who lives out-of-state as your "family check-in contact"
  3. Implement your disaster preparedness plan:
    • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
    • Inspect your home for potential hazards such as items that can move, fall break or catch fire, and correct them.
    • Install safety features such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and instruct others how to use them properly.
    • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency medical services number.
    • Keep emergency kits such as FoodInsurance.com's The Essentials kit in your home with enough supplies for each member of your family for two weeks.
    • Keep a disaster preparedness response kit with items you may need in case of evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. 
    • Keep important family documents in a waterproof container.
    • Keep a smaller disaster preparedness emergency kit in the trunk of your car.
  4. Practice and maintain your plan:
    • Ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules.
    • Make sure everyone knows where to find your family's emergency kits.
    • Test your smoke detectors monthly.
    • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's recommendations.
    • Replace spare batteries as required.
    • Conduct periodic drills to make sure you are prepared in case of an actual emergency.

Thanks to good hurricane preparedness, you can increase your chances for surviving a hurricane disaster with emergency kits like those from FoodInsurance.com. Don't wait—put your disaster preparedness plan into effect today if you live in an at-risk region.

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