Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Must Have Items

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis etc. can occur at any time but are less likely to occur on the east coast. Hurricanes are one of the most destructive natural disasters that can occur. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and usually occurs in warm weather areas. On average 5-6 hurricanes occur during the hurricane season. Hurricanes are classified into 5 different categories:

Category 1 - winds 74-95 miles per hour
Category 2 - winds 96-110 miles per hour
Category 3 - winds 111-130 miles per hour
Category 4 - winds 131-155 miles per hour
Category 5 - winds greater than 155 miles per hour

Tropical storms have winds ranging from 39-73 miles per hour. A tropical depression has winds up to 38 miles per hour and look like individual thunderstorms grouped together. When a natural disaster transpires you can never be fully equipped for what materializes but there are some things you can do to help make the experience go smoother. The east coast has recently experienced multiple natural disasters it a short period of time. Here are 22 emergency preparedness tips to help when experiencing a natural disaster:

1. Relax. Don’t let your emotions overwhelm you. Don’t let media coverage, family or friends cause you to overreact.
2. Outside items. Bring in all outside furniture and items that can easily blow away or tie them down tightly.
3. Cover. Keep blinds, shades and curtains drawn. Avoid staring out the window.
4. Lighting. Use kerosene lights or keep candles and flashlights near in case your power goes out. Buy matches or lighters to light candles as needed.
5. Heating. Keep lots of blankets. Wear extra clothes to stay warm. Buy hot water heater insulators to keep the hot water warm even if the power goes out.
6. Cooking. If you don’t want to use your gas stove or have an electric stove, cook food outside on a grill and store leftovers on ice. If you have a gas stove, you can still cook by lighting the pilot manually.
7. Ice. Buy 1 - 5lb bag of ice per every 3 days to use if you want to drink your beverages cold. If you have an automatic ice maker, make several trays of ice and store in the freezer to use if the power goes out.
8. Drinks. Drink more water to help stay hydrated. Try drinking beverages at room temperature to save ice. Buy bottled water or fill water pitchers with filtered water and store in your refrigerator if you are unable to drink tap water.
9. Snacks. Buy snacks to eat in between meals.
10. Food. Buy canned fruits and vegetables and other non-perishable items such as nuts, powered milk, beef jerky, spam, tuna fish, dried fruit, crackers, peanut butter, granola or protein bars, juice boxes, etc.
11. Water. Fill your bath tub and use the water to flush your toilet or use to wash up if the power goes out.
12. Cleaning. Fill a large trash can full of water to use if you are unable to take a shower. Keep moist towelettes, alcohol pads and disposable bathing clothes or wash clothes on hand. Use bleach as a disinfectant.
13. Health. Make sure you have enough prescriptions, aspirin or pain reliever, anti-diarrheal medicine, and multiple first aid kits.
14. Power. Buy a generator or get batteries to use for portable tv’s, radios or dvd players. You can also charge cell phones or other electronic devices in your car. Make sure you have lots of batteries.
15. Fun. Pull out the board games to play with your family. Do fun activities such as tell stories, crossword puzzles, etc.
16. Leisure. Read books or play battery powered games. Catch up on activities and reconnect with family.
17. Breathing. When the disaster has ended, use dust masks if needed to filter contaminated air. If the air is not contaminated open windows to get fresh air.
18. Cell phones. Make sure cell phones are fully charged and minimize use prior to the natural disaster.
19. Babies. Keep plenty of baby formula, food and diapers on hand as well as medicine, and other supplies.
20. Money. Keep extra cash or travelers’ check on hand in case you need to make unexpected purchases.
21. Smoke detectors. Check to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
22. Disposable. Keep disposable items on hand such as paper plates, cups, utensils, paper towels, toilet paper and other toiletries or recycled paper products.

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