With all the increase in extreme weather patterns and all signs pointing to our climate changing rapidly now and in the foreseeable future, being prepared for a storm is no longer a process for madmen and conspiracy theorists. Keep you and your family safer, longer by utilising the following tips and tricks.
Create an ‘Emergency Plan’
Discuss with your family or housemates what your plan of attack will be in case of an emergency. Do you know where all the exits are (including accessible windows)? Does anyone require special assistance or have medical requirements? If you need to evacuate, where will you go? How will you stay in touch if you are separated or cell communication is down? Making sure everyone is on the same page and will be following the same ‘protocols’ is key if you are to remain safe, in contact and clear-headed in an emergency situation.
Create an Emergency- or Disaster-Readiness Kit
This is a physical kit (a backpack works well as it is also easily transported) that holds some key equipment for at least your first few days if you are cut-off from outside contact. Think along the lines of flashlights, first-aid materials, battery-operated radio (plus batteries!), bottled water, canned food and a can-opener, plastic bags, toilet paper, gloves, key documents & cash. Depending on your own personal requirements you may also need to consider packing back-up medicines (e.g. asthma inhalers) or toys for young children.
Get Your Home Ready
While you may not have the means (or the necessity) to prepare a full-scale bunker or shelter, you can still get your home storm-ready. Make sure your roof is in good condition and consider whether it might be useful to have access to the roof through your attic in the case of a flood. Keep your gutters and drains clear of debris and secure any loose or easily-detached items in and around your house. Ensure you and all residents of the home know how to turn off the power, water & gas at the mains and assess (and fix!) any structural issues to the home.
Get to Know Your Environment
This means both your neighbourhood and wider area, as well as the types of environmental emergencies or disasters that are most likely to hit you close to home. Are you in an area that is prone to flooding? Are you on the coast? Is there a history or volcanic/tectonic activity in your area? Understanding these things will help you better prepare for emergencies. Get to know the best routes into and out of your neighbourhood or city. Locate the closest police station(s) and community centres. Understand how to tune into civil defence and emergency radio frequencies.