Author: Egena Younger
Hurricane season in the Atlantic lasts from June 1 to November 30, which includes all of our summer months, when we are normally focusing on vacationing and finding activities to keep our children busy while they are out of school. However, that period is also a time to focus on hurricane preparedness. To avoid the stress of a chaotic rush to purchase batteries, water, generators, etc., consider completing a few simple tasks that will help you feel somewhat more relaxed during the time of a natural disaster. The following tips are the advice of the experts on how to be prepared:
1. Store water that is specifically set aside for emergency use, along with canned and other foods that do not require refrigeration. 2. Keep passports, birth records, identification records, a credit card, and some cash in a safe, waterproof place that is easily accessible to grab and take with you if necessary. 3. Have the address of your closest two shelters and have alternate routes identified, in case of delays due to trees down, heavy traffic, flooding, or other obstacles. 4. If you have pets, make a list of nearby emergency shelters that allow animals, and have pet food stored in a waterproof container. Also, be sure your pet has a collar and you have all immunization records. 5. Keep a waterproof bag for all medications and phone numbers for your pharmacy for refilling prescriptions for each family member. Include a list of food and medicine allergies that any of your family members may have. 6. Try to keep a battery-operated radio or battery-operated television in your emergency kit. Also, keep at least 2 flashlights and extra batteries. 7. Identify any special needs for you or your family members, and have an extra waterproof bag for those items. 8. Have your cell phone charged and easily accessible and be sure to have a car and electrical charger with you at all times, but in a waterproof bag. Your cell phone could possibly be your only form of contact. (Remember, sometimes when a cell phone will not work or you can't get through, you can still send a text message.) 9. A generator is a great option that has become more affordable over the last few years. Investing in a generator could save hundreds of dollars of lost food. If you have one, do a practice run, so you will know how to use it before the time comes when you NEED to use it. (Most generators are not sufficiently large to operate an entire household, so learn how to cut off appliances you will not be using). 10. Try to be mindful of others. Everyone is stressed during a challenging time and your concerns are likely the same concerns that others are experiencing. Working against your fellow man, only heightens the stress. Lend a helping hand and be a part of the solution.Most importantly, try to keep a level head and always focus on the fact that items can be replaced but people cannot.
We all hope we never have to deal with a catastrophe or have to vacate our homes due to a disaster, but being prepared allows a level of comfort if you are faced with an emergency situation.
 For a more complete checklist, see the National Hurricane Center's "Disaster Supply Kit" Checklist at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/prepare/supply_kit.shtml.