It doesn’t take a flood, an earthquake, an ice storm, or a tornado to take out the power. On Sunday, July 24, 2016 a fire at an electrical substation rendered over 8500 homes and businesses without power in Davidson and Forsyth Counties, North Carolina. At the time, day time temperatures were in the high 90’s with heat indexes over 100 degrees with no end in sight. Evening temperatures barely dipped into the mid-seventies. In other words, in the midst of a heat wave, 8500 customers were without power. No refrigeration, no air conditioning and those customers with water wells instead of city water were without water on tap.
September is National Preparedness Month and if you haven’t made preparations for a disaster, regardless of the scale, now is the time to get prepared. Prepare yourself, your home, your family, and your co-workers. The wisdom in these preparations is to prepare for a large scale disaster so that you’re covered during a small one. Here is a list to help you get started.
- Communication: Determine who calls whom in the event of a disaster. Also consider what you will do if you cannot communicate by phone or email.
- If you are working parents, whose responsibility is it to pick up which child, if necessary. In this scenario, both parents work, one child is in elementary school while the other goes to high school. Disasters don’t always strike when the whole family is together.
- Consider what foods and how much you would need to get by at least 3 days in the event of a disaster. Extra provisions is always a good idea in case the situation lasts more than three days or you have unexpected company. You can always assist a neighbor or two.
- Water, both potable and non-potable. Each person will require 1 gallon of water per day. Think of that as your ‘potable’ supply – water you can drink. Then collect a non-potable water supply for personal hygiene and flushing the toilet. Be sure to mark the water accordingly.
- Medical Supplies. If you can afford it, always have a month’s supply of prescription drugs on hand. You’ll not want to store your prescriptions, you simply want to keep an extra supply along with over-the-counter medicines and vitamins.
- Copies of important Documents. Make copies of important documents - driver’s licenses, social security cards, deeds, titles, mortgage agreements, etc., - and keep them in a safe place away from home where they can be accessed if/when there is a disaster that adversely affect your residence.
- Meet-up location. If your family is in different locations when disaster strikes and you can’t go home, plan a meet-up location where all members of the family can eventually gather.
One of the best websites for learning what you will need for every member of your family and how to prepare for a variety of natural disasters is the CDC emergency site: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/index.asp. The website will help you calculate the necessary amounts of food and water per person. Make checklists, train your spouse and children but, first and foremost, get prepared.