Always be prepared.
We know, we know, it’s only April, but hurricane season isn’t that far away. Typically hurricane season in the United States runs from June 1st to the end of November; however, just like so many other things, 2020 might have changed that. After the record-breaking 2020 hurricanes, NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – is considering starting the season even earlier. While this hasn’t yet happened, you should still begin to prepare because June 1st is closer than you think. It can feel overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered. Your best Neighbors ever have put together a checklist of everything you need to prepare for hurricane season 2021.
Hurricane Disaster Supply Kit
First things first, you’re going to need a disaster supply kit. A duffle bag or large plastic tub that has everything you’ll need in the event of an emergency. The kit should include the following items:
We recommend at least a week’s supply (full seven days, minimally one gallon per person per day), preferably in plastic containers.
A seven-day supply of non-perishable food. You don’t want to have anything that will need to be refrigerated or need to be cooked. We also suggest you have a non-electric can-opener on hand.
Make sure the first aid kit includes prescription medicines (at least a two-week supply).
You’ll want to have items like a battery-powered radio and flashlight with plenty of extra batteries, credit cards, cash, a set of car keys, sanitation supplies, an extra set of glasses. You might also consider including lighters or a solo stove campfire kit.
Everyone in your group should have at least one change of clothes and footwear and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
Consider who is in your group and any kind of special care they might need. Think about including items required for the care of infants, the elderly, or disabled family members.
Hurricane Medication List/Kit
When a hurricane hits, it can feel chaotic. There are several things to prepare for (as listed above), but something you don’t want to forget about is your personal health. Monitoring your symptoms and preparing a medical information list in advance is the most crucial step to maintaining your health. Information that needs to be included:
- Copies of health insurance cards and a list of hospitals or ER’s that are closest to you.
- Information about your health care providers; doctors’ names, and phone numbers. This checklist we created is helpful for keeping track of all your medical information.
- List of all your allergies and sensitivities, as well as any communication or cognitive difficulties you may have.
- Medication necessities:
- Names of all medications, including over-the-counter: make sure you include dosages and times, the condition for which you take a medication, and the name of the doctor who prescribed it, and phone number.
- At least a seven-day supply of essential medications (preferably two weeks). You can speak with your doctor(s) about getting extra supplies of medicines and additional copies of prescriptions.
- Ask about the shelf life of your medications and the temperatures at which they should be stored. This helps ensure that a medicine’s effectiveness does not weaken.
- Some medications you can’t take with you. If you take medications (like methadone, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy) administered by a clinic or hospital, ask your provider how to prepare for disruption.
Ask your medical provider how your records are stored and if you can obtain a copy in advance of Hurricane season. In the event of a major disaster, this could be life-saving.
Hurricane Preparations for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy is stressful enough, but being caught in a natural disaster, like a hurricane, can increase stress levels dramatically. Being prepared for this is one way to protect mom and baby’s health. When hurricane season is in full swing, pregnant women and families with small children need to take extra precautions to ensure that things go smoothly, whether staying or evacuating.
What expecting moms need to know:
- Plan an alternate birth location. Regular routes might be used for evacuation, and some roads could be closed.
- Have phone numbers and locations for a back-up birth team if you can’t reach your OBGYN.
- If you’re close to your due date, include a copy of your prenatal care record and birth bag in your disaster kit.
- If you have to go to a shelter, immediately notify them of your pregnancy and get information about the location of hospitals in the area.
- Bring your medications, including prenatal vitamins and prescriptions, with you.
The stress of evacuating or sheltering during a hurricane could cause you to go into early labor. Learn the signs of preterm labor and contact help immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Contractions every 10 minutes or more
- Low, dull backache
- Feeling that baby is pushing down
- Leaking vaginal fluid or bleeding
- Abdominal cramps
Keeping your children safe during hurricane season.
Hurricanes can get scary no matter your age. Having a complete safety plan can help your child feel a sense of control, security, confidence, and independence.
- Let your children know they can talk to you if they are afraid. Be calm and listen to what they have to say. If they don’t feel like talking, don’t force them.
- Don’t overwhelm children with your own fears. They need to know that you are calm.
- Have alternative forms of entertainment ready for them and keep them away from the TV or radio. Too much news can be frightening for children.
- If you have to evacuate, try to keep things as normal as you can. Routine is important. Try to keep the same bedtimes, mealtimes, and rules.
- Talk with your children about the family’s hurricane plan. Make sure they have a clear understanding of what might happen.
Your children may act:
- Scared – It’s normal to be afraid of hurricanes. Children may become more scared of being alone, going to sleep, or being away from you. Children often act younger than they are when afraid and might revert to old behavior– even bedwetting or using baby talk.
- Angry – Some children get mad because they don’t understand what’s happening. They might act out by shouting or hitting because they don’t know how to tell you they’re afraid.
- Sick – It’s common for children to feel sick when they get scared. They may have stomach aches, problems eating or problems sleeping.
Being prepared is the best way to stay safe during hurricane season.
Keeping calm during an emergency, like a hurricane, can feel impossible, but making sure you’re prepared is the first step. Disaster kits and checklists like the ones mentioned above help give you peace of mind. They can also save you precious time if evacuations become necessary and might even end up saving your life. Never forget, you aren’t alone. We’re all facing hurricane season together, and if you do find yourself in need of emergency care, Neighbors is a short drive away.