Meteorologist Amber Alexander recently asked her Twitter followers if they have a storm preparedness kit. 75% of 300 people said no. Nobody ever anticipates a tornado destroying their home, just like we never think a fire will burn our house down, but it happens. The question is how much do you want to be prepared for a disaster?
“It’s really difficult to try to develop a plan, during an actual tornado, severe storm, or anything like that so it’s really important to talk to your family now,” said Dutch Geisinger, Deputy Director of Polk County Emergency Management.
What should your kit look like? Geisinger says it’s up to you on how extensive your kit is, but you should make sure you have enough food and water to get you and your family through 72 hours or three days. You should actually have two types of kits. One that you keep at home in case you shelter in place, and a go-kit in case an evacuation is necessary.
The task of gathering everything you need for your kits can be daunting, but some sites like safeguardiowa.org and ready.gov make it easy to remember exactly what you should put in that kit. It doesn’t even need to happen in one day, you can put a few things in each day, or a few things in each week. If you have children, it’s also important you get them involved in making the kit and your disaster plan should a disaster strike.
Geisinger says, “The more you can talk to your children about an event, the less frightening it’s going to be for them and the better prepared, they’re going to be to react appropriately so as you’re developing those plans, make sure they’re involved in the development of the plans, make sure you practice the plans.”
Practicing your plans is especially important if you and other family members are not together when a disaster occurs. Have you ever thought about where to go if you’re at a store when a tornado hits? Most places of business will have a plan, listen to those employees and follow them.
“If they don’t have a plan, I look for those interior rooms places away from windows and doors. A convenience store is always a place that has a walk in cooler,” said Geisinger .
And what should you do if you’re driving?
Geisinger says, “If you’re in your vehicle. It’s really important to remember especially if you’re on the open highway that you really don’t have a lot of options if you can get to the side of the road, do so safely. Make sure you keep your seatbelt fastened, stay in your vehicle. Don’t get out. The only, the only other option would be if you can find a place that’s lower than the roadway. You can exit your vehicle and get as low to the ground as you possibly can.”
There’s a lot to talk about when preparing for the worst. Like most insurances, you hope you never need to use a disaster kit, or quickly find a shelter when you’re not home, but talking about these things with your loved ones now ensures that they’ll be confident and prepared for the future.
Make your own Emergency Kit and Plan: