Friday, March 5, 2010

Ahhh. Such Nice Weather. Oh Wait. That's Going to Change!

I don't know about you, but I have really enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and warmer temperatures these past few days, especially after that ridiculously cold winter we had to endure! Snow everywhere, artic temperatures, igloo building...but we've turned a corner now....straight into spring storm season!

Heavy rains and storms may or may not hit our area beginning on Sunday evening and running through Monday. Like it or not, with the warmer temperatures come spring storms and we're at that time of year. But rather than just complain about the weather, make it a family project to get prepared! It's really fun to do this as a family so get everyone involved!
I'm going to give you a few simple steps you can follow that will help you and your loved ones be ready for whatever Mother Nature dishes out, so let's get started!

Tip #1--Make a Plan. This includes making a family communication checklist. Call up long lost Aunt Matilda in Oklahoma and ask her to serve as the check-in location for everyone in your family. If stormy weather separates you from your loved ones, have everyone call up Aunt Matilda and let her know your whereabouts. It's much easier to call across America than it is to call across the street if our phone lines are down.

Now, don't make your family communication plan harder than it has to be. Just whip open your Word or Excel program and put in everyone's full name, address, phone numbers (work, cell, home), email addresses, social media handles for sites like Twitter and Facebook and include all of Aunt Matilda's info too. You might also toss on your list 1-800-RED CROSS and in case you need it at any point. You can follow us on Twitter for weather updates at any time. We're easy to find @redcrossdallas. Now, when you're list is done, just hit print and then make sure all of your loved ones have this list of important numbers in their wallet, disaster supply kit, etc. so when you need it, you can put your fingers right on it.

Tip #2--Build a Kit: You know what to do here. We live in tornado alley afterall. But just in case you need to refresh your supplies, double-check your kit for things like a working flashlight and AM/FM radio with plenty of batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, canned foods, copies of important documents like the deed to your house, wedding license, copy of your drivers license, etc. Put these in a zip lock bag in case you have to evacuate in a rain storm or flood. Also include a leash for Fido or Fluffy and some food for them too. Dry socks in a ziplock bag will bring you tons of comfort. And don't forget any important prescription medications, eyeglasses, etc. Now once you get all of the supplies into your bag or trash can on wheels, place it in your tornado safe room in your home and then relax and enjoy the beautiful sunshine with the peace of mind that it will be there when you need it!

Tip #3--Be Informed. Talk to your kids about the difference between a watch and a warning. Just in case you need a hint, a "watch" means the weather experts are simply watching the conditions for any changes that could lead to a storm. A "warning" is serious. The conditions are actually happening and uncertainty abounds. When a "warning" is issued for flash floods, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and the like, take it seriously. Get to safety and try to stay off the roads. Did you know that floods are the most common, deadliest and costliest of all natural disasters? I know. It's shocking. Water is deceptive so you must outsmart it by staying out of its way. As the National Weather Service says, "Turn Around. Don't Drown." It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

No matter what happens, we'll be there for you if you need us. It's early in spring storm season so we're hoping for nothing more than a good old-fashioned Texas thunderstorm. But, Mother Nature is very unpredictable so go ahead and take the tips listed here to heart and if you have any questions about how to be better prepared, you just shoot me an email and I'll help you all I can. Until next time, be safe!

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