Our hearts and minds are with the East coast this week as they prepare for Hurricane Florence. It was while living in Durham, North Carolina as newlyweds that John and I learned being prepared for storms and natural disasters is important and not to be taken lightly or for granted.
The first winter we lived in North Carolina, a debilitating ice storm hit the city and we were without power for over a week. On our second morning without power, we woke to a tiny little apartment so cold that you could see our breath - with no fireplace or electric heater we were starting to become concerned for our safety. We were fortunate that while trying to determine how we would stay warm until our power was restored, John’s school sent a message welcoming students to bring their friends, families and pets to the school. The school was on the same power grid as the hospital and thankfully, had power. This experience made a strong impression on us and motivated us to be more aware and better prepared.
While Dallas isn’t directly impacted by Hurricanes we see our share of natural disasters and storms. Over the years, John and I have compiled a list of items we like to have on hand during an emergency or power outage (and if you live in East Dallas, you’ll surely lose power every now and then!).
Cash - in the event of a power outage, debit and credit cards will not work
Gas - if you know that a significant storm is coming, go ahead and fill up your car with gas. Make it a practice to never let your car get below ¼ tank in the event something requires you to leave immediately without planning.
Water - the CDC recommends that you store 1 gallon of water per family member/pet per day and that you are prepared with a 3 day supply of drinking water. Purchase emergency water packs from the American Red Cross or simply keep a few jugs of water stored in a cool, dry place.
Food - It’s always a good idea to have high-protein, non-perishable items on hand in your pantry. My brother stopped for emergency food supplies on his way home from work right before Hurricane Ike and was only able to find beer, pretzels and cereal bars! Want to be extra prepared? The American Red Cross also offers a 72 hour food supply kit.
Emergency Kit - it’s easy to put together your own food and water supply, but if you buy nothing else from the American Red Cross, purchase one of their Emergency Kits. These will include a hand-cranked radio, flashlight and batteries, breathing mask, emergency blanket and more.
Coffee - a French Press will allow you to make really good coffee without power, or keep it simple and keep few instant coffee packages on hand.
Chargers - keep a handful of “all-in-one” chargers powered up so that you can easily plug in your phone or tablet during a power outage.
Lights - we like to keep a few book lights with our emergency kit so that we can all read without holding a flashlight!
Books and board games - teach your kids what the “old days” were like with hand-held books and old fashioned board games!
Red Wine - as much as you can possibly keep on hand...plus it doesn’t need to stay cold.
Being prepared to shelter in place is an important component of any family safety plan, but regardless of how prepared you feel you are to weather a storm at home, it’s imperative that you heed the advice of local authorities as it pertains to evacuations and other emergency procedures.
In the event that a significant emergency or natural disaster occurs, you can notify friends and family you are safe at the “Red Cross Safe and Well Website”