Stop! Is Your Family Ready for a Disaster?

For the second time in three years, I’ve had to think about my family’s disaster preparedness plan. I live in North Carolina and the last few days have been nerve-wracking as we watched Hurricane Irene hit the coast. It’s not the first time.  Two years ago a rogue tornado tore through our neighborhood. Eight of my neighbors’ homes were completely destroyed by the violent wind and rain.  The tornado came so suddenly, Dr. D. and I barely had time to get down to our basement. We huddled in a crawlspace under our stairwell as we listened to what sounded like a freight train blowing down our street. Our power, phone and cable lines were knocked out for 36 hours and our yard was destroyed by uprooted trees.  We were stunned by the devastation the tornado brought – particularly because we live in an area where they are very rare – but thankful that all of our neighbors were ok and no one was  injured. Two years ago I didn’t have an emergency preparedness kit pulled together. I had to rummage through the house looking for candles, flashlights and batteries.

This time around I was ready with my emergency kit. If you don’t have yours together already, the FEMA website is a great resource. They recommend putting the following  items into a basic kit:

  • First aid kit
  • One gallon of water per person for at least three days
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food (such as peanut butter, canned fruit and tuna)
  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Whistle signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Maps
  • Cell phone charger

FEMA experts also advise having a family plan so that your family members know what to do and where to go should disaster strike. The good news for most families is that much of what you need in an emergency kit you already own. For a full list of items recommended items log onto FEMA’s website, .

Showing 2 comments
  • Blessing

    Oh, definitely kept you in my prayers. My husband is down there in Norfolk and it wasnt pretty either, luckily I mailed him our emergency plan and he was able to keep his parents and siblings safe while there.

    • bossmomonline

      Thanks, Blessing. It turned out that we didn’t have too much damage at all. Still it’s a great reminder that we really need to be prepared!

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