As we head into the second week of effects from Hurricane Florence, witnessing the devastation in parts of the Carolinas and seeing its impact continue, you may be sighing relief that it didn’t hit Florida.
Would you have been prepared if it had?
While you may have been ill-prepared for Florence, you have a chance to right your wrongs. Remember: Florence is only named storm number six, and hurricane season continues through November 30. Now's your second chance to get your disaster-supply kit ready to go.
Here are some essentials of a well-stocked disaster supply kit, that's ideally placed in a "grab and go," container. In fact, because we don't know where we'll be when a disaster strikes, FEMA recommends we have three kits assembled -- one for home, work, and in our vehicle. How do your kits measure up?
Water. Include a three- to seven-day supply of drinking water in your kit; at least one gallon per person for five to seven days. Remember water for your pet(s) as well -- a half-gallon per pet, per day for five to seven days is recommended. Commercially bottled water has a longer shelf life than containers of water you fill yourself.
Food. Supply your kit with at least three meals per day, per person, for three to five days. The food supply should include canned or dry milk, cereal, snack foods, canned vegetables, peanut butter, canned meats. Remember the special dietary needs of infants and the elderly.
Medications and special needs. Remember to include a five- to seven-day supply of medications and special-needs items such as diapers and formula for infants. A two-week supply of medications is recommended, too.
Personal items. What would make a week-long evacuation more tolerable for you and your family? Make room in your disaster supply kit for personal items. They may include personal hygiene items, toilet paper, and a change of clothes for each evacuee.
First aid kit. Prepare a kit that contains supplies ready for use in the case of a minor medical incident. Include items such as aspirin, latex gloves, sunscreen, first-aid tape, bandages, a thermometer, tweezers and antiseptic ointment.
Other necessary items. Round out your stocked disaster supply kit with other essentials, such as flashlights, matches, a portable AM/FM radio, a severe weather radio, flashlights, a manual can opener, cleaner/disinfectant and wash cloths, flares and jumper cables, and important papers in waterproof plastic bags or containers and cash.
A couple times a year, check your kit for expired or missing items, replace them, and keep the kit in an accessible place in your home. Hopefully, you'll never have to load it in the car on your way out of town, but if you do, you'll be prepared for the week ahead and better able to handle the crisis at hand.