May is spring tornado season for the great state of Oklahoma. In fact back in 2011 we had one touch down and roll through our neighborhood. It missed our house by about 300 yards. Boy was that ever an experience.
No one is able to predict when and where a natural disaster can take place. Sure weathermen and news stations can tell you where a hurricane or tornado is, but to what extent of damage the storm will do is still unknown.
Living in Oklahoma I have seen the destruction a tornado can do to a neighborhood. It can rip a house off the foundation, rip off the roof, pick up cars, tip over trailers, or it can leave your house untouched, even though it destroyed the one next door.
The smartest thing any person, any family can do is be prepared.
STOCK UP ON ESSENTIALS ~ Water: People can survive without food for long periods of time, but we cannot go without water. Each household should have an emergency supply of water, at least six gallons per family of four, more for families of five or more.
Food: Non-perishable foods, canned goods, or packaged food, which does not have to be cooked, should be stored with your water supply. Remember, both your emergency food and water supply should be kept in a safe, dry place.
Make sure the storage place is not exposed to extreme heat or cold – an extra closet, or cabinet inside the home is best. If you have a basement that is kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter that is even better.
SURVIVAL KITS ~ Every home should have first aid and survival kits. First aid kits can be purchased with everything a person would need, or you can make your own. First aid kits should have band aids, gauze pads, alcohol pads, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin. Different sizes of band aids and gauze pads are even better!
If you have younger kids or infants in the household, make sure the first aid kit has supplies for them. Obviously you are not going to be able to give an infant or toddler the aspirin in the kit.
Another kit every home should have is a survival kit including flash lights, new batteries, a radio, extra clothing, and a few tools. Both kits should be stored in a water-proof bag with your food and water supply.
MEDICATIONS ~ In your first aid or survival kit, store at least three to five days’ worth of medications. Remember to check the expiration dates often and switch out the medication when the date passes. If you have complicated medical needs, make sure you have an emergency plan from your doctor.
PREPARE YOUR HOME ~ Meet as a family often to discuss what to do in an emergency. Make sure able persons know CPR and teach kids how to dial 911. Able persons in the home should also know how to shut off the gas, electricity, and water to the home.
Every home should have a fire extinguisher, and everyone old enough should know how to use it. Families should have a meeting location to meet should the kids get separated from the parents or each other. Kids should also be taught where to go for safety, like under a door frame during an earthquake and down in the storm shelter during a tornado.
PREPARE YOUR CAR ~ Keep a supply of food and water in the car at all times. Because this food will be exposed to heat and cold, make sure to switch the supplies out more often. A flashlight, blanket, and first aid kit should also be packed in the car. Always keep your gas tank at least half full and make sure to perform routine maintenance on your vehicle so you do not run into any problems during an emergency.
**Natural disasters are not an everyday occurrence, but it’s important to be prepared for one just in case. Education and effort can keep you and your family safe, which after all is your top priority.