Still a month left in the Atlantic hurricane season: It’s a good time to check your supply kit
So far, so good for Central and South Florida this hurricane season (touch wood). Not so for Northwest Florida, the panhandle of our state, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael last month.
Especially now that we’re experiencing the consequences of global warming, November is no time to breathe a sigh of relief, even though it’s traditionally the last month of the Atlantic hurricane season.
As a service to readers of my ULTIMATE ERROR blog, I’ve put together a list of the essential supplies recommended, in real life (“IRL,” as the kids say), by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Water – the rule of thumb here is one gallon of water per person, per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food – non-perishable food, enough for at least three days
- Battery-powered or manual-charge radio and NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First-aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle for signaling help
- Dust mask to help with filtering contaminated air, and plastic sheeting, duct tape to shelter-in-place
- For personal sanitation – moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Pliers or wrench for turning off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Cell phone, chargers, and backup battery
I hope this checklist is helpful to you, as you check your kit and possibly fill in any missing items.
Remember, the gauge that authorities like NOAA and FEMA use in recommending the quantity of water and food per person, for example, is not a wild guess. It’s based on the average time it takes for professionals and volunteers to reach you in your home after a disaster. Of course, it’s all about safety and preserving lives, so they add a bit here and there, just to be… well, safe!
It’s important, too, to keep your lines of communication open before hurricane warnings and even hurricane watches are issued. Use your NOAA radio to hear no-nonsense updates when storms form near the state where you live.
The new year affords us an opportunity to look at the bigger picture before the next North Atlantic hurricane season comes around (June 1st). This means getting in touch with your local and county emergency managers and finding out when meetings and drills are scheduled. Community-wide efforts in advance of catastrophic events can help avoid much confusion and panic when the time comes. Emergency managers can pass along information and even training that could help you become a life-saving leader in your locality.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or motivation to keep your kit up and batten down the hatches to protect your family. Helping your neighbors do the same is a rewarding way to go the extra mile.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about disasters that are not as “natural” as they are reputed to be. The fossil-fuel conglomerates warm the climate, monster storms develop, and then some reporters on television blame “Mother Nature.” It’s perhaps the biggest con and the most unjust frame-job ever.