I still remember my first pop quiz. My teacher walked into class with a smirk on her face, suggesting that she was in an unusually foul mood. She instructed my fellow students and myself to clear our desks, and she proceeded to hand out the test.
I vividly remember the feeling of terror that came over me. I hadn’t prepared for a quiz. As I looked around the room, I could tell that some of my fellow students shared my sense of panic. To my surprise, however, there were some who appeared quietly calm and confident. As it turned out, despite the unexpected nature of the quiz, these students were thoroughly prepared and passed with flying colors. Unfortunately for many others like myself, the surprise caught us off-guard, and we suffered the consequences for our lack of preparation.
Since last week was National Hurricane Preparedness Week, it’s the perfect time to review some important hurricane preparation tips. And with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “forecasting an active or extremely active” 2013 hurricane season, what better way to reinforce the seriousness of the issue and the value of preparation than to conduct our very own hurricane preparedness pop quiz?
Question #1 – Do you have a family communication plan?
Family members are often separated when hurricanes strike; it’s important to plan how to contact loved ones well in advance of a disaster. As part of your family communication plan, you should make contact information cards listing the phone numbers of each family member.
Since communication lines may be down or tied up in the immediate area of a hurricane, identify an out-of-state contact that can relay information between separated family members. Make sure each family member has coins, a pre-paid phone card or a cell phone (with emergency out-of-town contact numbers preprogrammed into the phone). Also, teach family members to text message. SMS messages are often more reliable than phone calls when a storm disrupts a cellular network.
Finally, as a family, determine safe evacuation routes and have a primary and secondary inland meeting location to gather in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Question #2 – Do you have enough food and water to survive a hurricane disaster?
Because hurricane evacuations are common and you may be forced to survive on your own, it’s important to have a supply of at least 72 hours worth of food, water and other necessary emergency items. Food Insurance® recommends that you have enough food and water to last you and your family for two weeks. Using this food calculator, you can determine the number of days your emergency food supply will last, depending on the number of adults and children in your family.
Question #3 – Is your property secure?
The following list of pre-hurricane to-dos will help secure your home during a storm:
- Cover the windows in your home in advance of a hurricane, using permanent storm shutters if possible.
- Secure the roof to your home’s frame by installing straps and additional reinforcement clips.
- Trim trees and shrubs to be more resistant to wind.
- Clean out the clutter from your rain gutters and drain spouts and properly secure them to your home.
- Reinforce those flimsy and unreliable garage doors.
- Tie down or bring in lawn furniture, garbage cans or anything else that can be blown about in a hurricane.
- Consider installing an emergency generator and building a safe shelter or room.
- If you live in a high-rise building, you should make plans to take shelter on or below the 10th floor of your building.
So, how did you do? Did you pass or fail? If this pop quiz caught you off-guard, take measures now to avoid being unprepared for a hurricane. Follow the aforementioned hurricane preparation tips and be prepared for any test Mother Nature may throw at you this hurricane season.