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Surviving Severe Storms - Emergency Preparedness

May 3, 2008
If you live in a storm-prone area, you should have some idea about what to do, where to go and what to have on hand in order to be prepared for bad weather. However, if you're not used to getting pummeled by high winds, hard rain, tornados or hurricanes, you may not have a clear idea of how best to face a severe storm situation.

For starters, most storms do not just come without some kind of a warning. Weather stations monitor the atmosphere day in and day out. If a storm is possible, they will issue two types of warnings:

Storm Watch - is issued when there is the possibility of storms in your area. You may will be experiencing a dark, cloudy sky, an unusually windy day and some rain. The storm may or may not come, but this is the time to keep tuned to your local radio for any news and updates.

Storm Warning - is issued when a storm is confirmed and headed toward your area. Try to stay indoors as much as possible or if you are advised to evacuate to a safer place, go as early as you can. Don't wait until the last minute to leave your house. By that time, the streets could be flooded and debris scattered along safe routes. You don't want to be caught in your car in bad weather.

Preparation for survival is imperative in the face of a severe storm emergency. I think Hurricane Katrina taught us all this lesson. Although things don't always go bad during storms, the weather is unpredictable and anything can happen. To help you prepare for a storm emergency, here are a few tips:

Dress up. If there is a chance of cold weather wear enough clothes to keep yourself warm. Heat may not be available in your house so get extra coats and blankets to maintain your body temperature sufficiently. Have your mittens, gloves, hats, socks and boots ready as well.

Have food ready. Emergency provisions are a must during storm emergencies. Make sure you stock up on no-cook food, canned food, some candy and other non-perishable items. And don't forget can openers, scissors or utensils. If the storm gets too bad and the streets are flooded, you will have a difficulty going out to the grocery shops. Besides, the area stores might be closed.

Keep bottles of water handy. Clean water may be hard to come by during really bad conditions and the worst thing you can do is suffer from dehydration because you were not prepared. Keep a supply of at least one gallon for every person per day that will last for 3 to 4 days.

Fill the tub. You'll need more water for washing and flushing the toilets. When the power is out, your water pump won't operate, so best fill your bath tub, water containers and pails with water. If you have small children in the house, take precautions by covering deep containers and keeping children away from the bathroom unless necessary.

Emergency kit. Have a medical or first kit ready and make sure it's freshly-stocked. It should contain disinfectants, gauzes, cotton balls, Q-tips, medicated plasters and necessary medicines. It's also a good idea to have another kit in your car. If anyone in your family is under special medication, make sure you have enough supplies to last until after the storm is over and drug stores are open.

Lights off. Expect power outages during storm emergencies. You won't have any electricity, so stock up on candles, flashlights and emergency lights. Have extra fresh batteries and matches in case you run out. If you can't turn on the TV, have a battery-powered radio tuned in to a station that covers your area. The media will monitor the storm and will keep you updated.

You might need hot water during the period when power is not yet available, so keep a small tank of gas around just in case. Your outdoor gas grill will do nicely.

Get to an alternate shelter. If you think your house will suffer damage, it's a good idea to consider an alternate shelter. It could be an evacuation center or another house or building that is safer. Make sure you have enough gas in your tank in case you need to get out of the house and move someplace. Keep to a higher ground where you have better chances of being safe and dry.

In case all else fails and you have little time to react during a severe storm it is always best to have a survival pack on hand that you can quickly grab and move to a save area.
About the Author
The Guardian Essentials 2-Person Survival Pack is on sale now for $49.99 at Trader-Bobs.com
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