September is National Preparedness Month sponsored by FEMA as a reminder to take action and be prepared for all types of emergencies. Many people don’t prepare until the last minute creating panic and widespread chaos at grocery stores, hardware stores and gas stations. There are simple steps to being prepared which include stockpiling goods, supplies, information, reference materials and other essentials to better weather natural disasters. This is what you need to know and should do.
* Prepare a disaster kit. Even if it isn’t a major emergency, the kit can prove valuable if there is an outage or water is shut off. This kit should contain non-perishable food, can opener, batteries, flashlights, medications and a case of drinking water.
* Coordinate communication and update contact information. Tell your family and friends what your are going to do, who to contact, and so on.
* If you live near the beach, it might be a good idea to stay with someone who lives more inland.
* If you hear of a mandatory evacuation, you must leave.
* If you live in your own home or have a business, consider some additional protection. To withstand the forces of wind associated with severe weather, anchor your roof, brace your entry and garage doors and cover your windows.
* If you have a pet, don’t forget it and don’t use it as an excuse not to evacuate.
* If you know your neighbors, you can check in with them. See if they need help, call them to share information or even come together.
* Keep your important papers together. Passports, birth certificates, visa documentation, bank information, credit card statements and so on should be kept in a safe box and easily accessible.