A storm is one of the most common natural disasters that many countries often face. It is imperative to be prepared for any emergency. No one can stop a natural calamity, but a person can prevent much destruction and also death if one is aware and ready for the arriving disaster. Nowadays many new technologies can predict the catastrophe like a storm. The media also keeps the citizens updated when any disaster is likely to occur. If a storm arrives in a city, it is evident that there will be a power cut, fallen trees, flown away rooftops, road blockage and sometimes even flood. One should be prepared for everything. Surviving will be a challenge when the storm arrives and if one is not ready from the beginning, then surviving would be very difficult.
Here are some common and important guidelines on how a person can be prepared if a Storm is predicted to be heading towards one’s residential area.
Prepare the home
It is essential to prepare the house if a storm is predicted to be heading towards a person’s private place. There are many small things that a person can do to minimize the effect of the storm on one’s home and the surrounding property of the person. Here are some basic tips to prepare the home for the storm;
- The roof must be checked and repaired if possible. Tree branches near the home should be removed because if any of the branches break down due to the storm, the roof of the house might be damaged.
- The gutters, pipelines, and downpipes must be cleaned and kept clear so that when it rains heavily after the storm, the water doesn’t get blocked due to obstructions.
- Any loose fitting items around one’s property must be secured, as the wind might blow those items away.
- It is best to turn off all the power and gas supply until the storm has ended, to keep the home secured from other hazards like gas leakage or electric shocks. Water containers, fuel and camping stove, must be kept safely and nearby for an emergency.
- If the place of residence is a flood-prone area, then all the essential indoor items must be kept at higher space. All the store poison or garden poison must be placed high and secured above the ground level.
Make an emergency plan
Making a plan is very important, as this would help the family during and also after the disaster. It is essential for the entire family to be involved in the planning. Here are some important points that one must include while making an emergency plan.
- The impact of the storm on the home should be estimated. If the storm is going to affect the house immensely and the house is not that strong to stand the storm, then it is best to take shelter somewhere safer. If there is any need of shifting, then one should do it before the wind starts to blow.
- If in case the family has decided to stay in the home itself, then emergency evacuation plan is necessary; exit points of the house and the pace of shelter should be planed.
- The pets must be kept indoors. In case the family is taking shelter somewhere else, the pets must also be considered along. Special requirements should be fulfilled if there is any family member with medical conditions.
- A way of contact should be decided if in case any family member gets separated.
- A home emergency kit must be prepared. The home insurance, as well as medical and life insurance, must be checked if it is adequate. All the required files and documents must be kept along.
- One should also have a conversation with the neighbors about the emergency plans and action plans so that people can get adequate help during the storm and also after it ends.
Preparing an emergency kit is a must. An emergency kit consists of all the necessary items that a person and the family members would require during the storm and as well as after the disaster. The emergency kit must be able to sustain a person or family for at least three days in case one has been isolated by floodwater or if there is any disruption in the necessary supplies. The emergency kit must be secured in a waterproof box, and the box should be placed in an easily accessible location. The package must have the following necessary items;
- A diary consisting of all the essential and emergency contact numbers. Contact numbers of fire brigade, police station and ambulance are a must.
- The first-aid kit is one of the most important things. The first-aid kit must contain all the necessary first-aid items like a bandage, cotton, antiseptic ointments, band-aid, essential medicines, scissors and other details if required.
- A portable radio that runs on batteries must be included.
- A torch is necessary as an emergency source of light.
- Cash and important documents must be put inside waterproof bags like zip-lock plastic bags.
- If there is any baby, elderly or disabled family member, necessary special items and medications must be included in the emergency kit.
- Mobile phone, spare batteries, and charger are necessary.
- Valuable items and photos must be kept in waterproof bags.
Warning and alerts
If any advice about severe storm has been issued for a person’s residential area, one must try to access as much information as possible about the storm so that one can prepare and protect the family members at home. A person can stay updated in the following ways;
- Stay tuned to the local radio or TV channel for warnings, information, and updates about the storm.
- Log on to any reliable websites or the local council’s website to get more information and updates.
- Be alert and listen out for SEWS, which is the siren used before any announcement about storms on TV or radio. One must always listen out for any emergency warning sirens and reports made by the local emergency service. One can also get updates and information via landline or mobile phones.
One must plan to be self-sufficient for minimum three days. If a severe storm occurs, there might be power cut and road blockage, due to which it might not be possible to get to the grocery. The most critical items are water and food; drinking water must be stocked in gallons, at least one gallon for one family member. As much as nonperishable food and canned food should be kept on hand in case of emergency.
If a person owns a car and it is the primary source of transport, the vehicle needs to be filled, as after the storm there might be long lines at the service stations and it would take a long day to fill the vehicle. When the vehicle is loaded, it must be parked under cover, or it can be protected using blankets or tarpaulins.
The yard or garden at one’s property must be cleared up. Many people place furniture or potted plants in the garden or the poolside. These items might be destroyed or flown away if the storm gets too severe, so all the outdoor things like furniture or potted plants must be brought indoors.
Protection of electronics
All the electronic appliances like fridge, computer, water motor, etc. must be unplugged. If any of the appliances are placed near a window, the device must move away and position at a safer place; those should be covered with large plastic bags if possible. All the mobile phone items should be kept in waterproof containers.
When the storm arrives, the most important thing is to activate the home plan that was made earlier. The emergency kit should be kept close by. The whole family must settle down in the safest room of the house. The interior of the room must be strong, and it must not have any windows. One must make sure that all the kitchen appliances, as well as the gas supply, are turned off. One must not go outside until and unless the storm ends. When the eye of the hurricane has passed over, the wind may subside temporarily, but it might start blowing again.
It is essential to be prepared for the most extreme and severe impact of the storm. Every necessary item must be kept ready. If any family member is at outdoors, one must inform the person; if the person is somewhere nearby then he/she should be asked to return home as soon as possible, but in case getting back home is not possible, then he/she must be advised to take shelter at wherever the person is. One basic rule about managing any disaster is to keep calm and not panic, as there might be unnecessary mess and accident due to panic.