Friday, May 29, 2009

Blown Away (Well, Not This Year At Least)

Here in Texas, we rarely have earthquakes (except for the tremors felt in the mid-cities a few weeks ago). Mudslides, volcanoes, tsunamis, and blizzards are also a thing of the movies and distant news in these parts. While we may not whip out our earthquake putty quite yet, Texas is heading into hurricane season.

North Texas does not usually get the direct hit of a hurricane, but we do receive gale force winds and evacuees from gulf-side cities. Unfortunately, most people get scared and prepared. Then nothing happens and everyone hopes they kept their receipts. As we witnessed from Katrina and Ike, it is better to get equipped before disaster strikes.

If you want a preparedness review, the Red Cross recommends following a few simple steps. Pull together a disaster supplies kit. Just think of it as camping… in your home. It’s time to learn about roughing it. First, get a few waterproof and manageable containers with handles to store your supplies in. Save up some nonperishable food and bottled water (three gallons per day per person is the rule of thumb). Make sure there is enough to last at least 72-hours. Since nonperishable foods usually include canned goods, I would get a non-electric can opener.

When the lights go out (like every bad storm here), keep a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries on hand. Pack extra clothes, important documents, cash and credit cards, and a first aid kit too.

If living near the coast, sit down with your family and discuss an evacuation route. Get shutters or use plywood to cover windows. Also, remove damaged tree limbs and strengthen garage doors. The last thing you want is a flooded home. If the National Weather Center recommends evacuating, do so immediately. Bring the disaster supplies kit with you when you evacuate.

If your home resides further inland, check-in with the Red Cross for information on how you can help during a disaster.

Watch for updates on our twitter, facebook and blog pages this upcoming hurricane season.

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