How to Prepare for Hurricane Harvey

Ready.gov has provided a great deal of information about how to prepare for different disasters. Today, our post is about equipping yourself for Hurricane Harvey. If you’re preparing, the first thing you need to do is create a “go bag.”

Your go-bag should include:

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Necessary medications
  • Cash
  • Copies of vital documents (health information, birth certificates, Social Security cards)

Bonus items:

  • Hard copies of local maps
  • Whistle
  • Hand-crank radio

Once you go-bag is situated, leave it by the door so you can grab it quickly.

Next, you need to create an evacuation plan. In case you’re asked to evacuate, figure out where the nearest shelters are and the fastest routes you could take to get there. Google Maps allows you to download the maps of the local area—do that so you’re not left without options if your phone can’t get signal. Better yet, memorize the routes.

After that, create a household communication plan. If the storm hits while your family is separated (at school, at work, etc.), then you all need to figure out how you’ll reach each other, how you’ll let each other know you’re safe, and how you’ll reconnect with each other.

Your communication plan should include:

  • Local school/workplace numbers
  • Medical center numbers
  • List of authorized adults who will pick up your child if you can’t

AccuWeather.com recommends texting over calling during emergencies, as texting will allow messages to go through when calling is unreliable.

If You’re Waiting Out the Storm

If you’re not in an evacuation area, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for evacuation regardless. However, if you’re able to stay in your home, here’s what you need to do.

Fill your tub with water.

During a hurricane, you can’t trust that all of your utilities are going to work. The tub of water is there to let you flush the toilet if the water isn’t working.

Get a large cooler and enough ice packs to keep it cool.

The power is usually the first thing to go out in a storm. When it goes out, put your perishable food and your ice packs in the cooler—that should buy you a day at least before things start to go bad.

Have four days to a week’s worth of clean water.

Flooding on the streets will create backflow into the clean water supply—make sure you have more than a few water bottles. You’ll need it for drinking, washing hands, brushing teeth, etc. On average, each person can use up to 5 gallons per day—but you won’t need that much. The CDC recommends a minimum of one gallon per person per day. For a five-person household, you’re looking at 15 gallons (or 3 water cooler jugs) for a 3-day supply.

But if you can get more, do it.

Buy a lot of canned or jarred food.

Beans, peanut butter, fruit—you’re looking for quick energy (preserved fruit) as well as slow-release energy and protein (peanut butter). If your family will enjoy eating it, that’s a bonus—but if your store just has beans left, get it.

For more information, visit the Hurricane Preparation pages on CDC.gov, Ready.gov, and FEMA’s website.

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