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How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 3

Updated on February 27, 2010

Creating an Emergency Kit

A disaster-supplies kit can make coping with emergencies much easier, and it will ease your mind to know that you're prepared for a few days without power, an evacuation or other possibilities. Keep the radio where you'll hear it if the alarm sounds; store the rest in backpacks or duffel bags that will be easy to carry if you must leave in a hurry.

Here's What You Need:

  • A NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm and battery backup, along with plenty of extra batteries.
  • A highway map so you can follow the storm's path as you hear weather bulletins.
  • A three-day supply of water: one gallon for each family member. Keep water in sealed plastic containers, mark the date it was stored and replace it every six months.
  • A three-day supply of nonperishable food and a hand-operated can opener. Rotate food every six to 12 months.

  • A change of clothing and shoes for each person, as well as a blanket or sleeping bag for each.
  • A first-aid kit that includes prescription medicines and a first-aid manual.
  • Medical information: names and phone numbers of physicians, descriptions of any family members' special medical needs and information on devices such as pacemakers.
  • Any essential items needed by babies and elderly or disabled members of the family.
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • A flashlight.
  • Credit cards and cash or traveler's checks.
  • Duplicate car keys.
  • Hygiene supplies such as toilet paper, towelettes and feminine hygiene products.
  • Important family papers, stored in a waterproof container.

Note: If it's necessary to leave your home, keep your radio at hand and follow emergency officials' instructions, taking the routes they advise. Have family members wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes. Lock your house, and take your emergency kit with you. If there's time, turn off the water, gas and electricity if officials advise doing so.

Preparing Your Home

As disaster-relief workers discovered after Hurricane Katrina some homes will be demolished by such storms, while others will put up more of a fight because they are more sturdily constructed. Even in cases such as Hurricane Andrew which essentially flattened the vast majority of Homestead, FL, there were always a few buildings still left standing. I actually drove through Homestead not more than 72 hours after Andrew hit and it truly struck me how there could be such utter "atomic bomb" level of devastation and then every once in a while you'd see a house that was essentially intact!

There's no such thing as guaranteed protection from violent winds caused by tornadoes and hurricanes, but you can take steps to reduce the damage to your home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies call the process of reducing or preventing damage "mitigation," and they offer specific guidelines on tasks you or a licensed contractor can take to protect your home. Home mitigation focuses mainly on strengthening the roof and its gable ends, and protecting doors and windows. Those who live in hurricane-prone areas may want to take additional measures to mitigate the effects of flooding due to a hurricane.

Continued In How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 4

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