With the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, we are reminded with just how devastating natural disasters can be. One year later, our community is still recovering from the impact that Harvey had. One bad storm does not exempt us from future catastrophes, so it is important to prepare in case disaster strikes again.
So why prepare?
Being prepared means everything. No matter the situation, disaster or not, being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and other loss. When you’re prepared and disaster strikes, you’ll know what to do and where to seek help. Knowledge is power when it comes to disaster preparation.
What basic things should I do to prepare for a disaster?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests you should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area — hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, etc. and be self-sufficient for at least three days. This means providing your own shelter, food, water, first aid and sanitation in some cases. Here are a few tips to help prepare for a disaster:
- Learn your community’s evacuation routes and shelter locations (e.g., churches, libraries, community centers, etc.). It may also be helpful to have map keys in the event that internet connections are lost. Write down the phone numbers for these locations as well.
- Purchase a battery-powered NOAA weather radio. Don’t rely on your cell phone, as you could lose power and run out of cell phone battery.
- Sign up for emergency alerts and know how officials will communicate with you during a disaster. Most cell phone and cable providers send out emergency text messages with instructions from local communities. You can also download the Swift 911 app, which allows you to contact the city if you need help.
- Put together a three-day emergency food kit for each member of your family (including water) and keep it in an accessible location. You may want to keep an extra kit and water in each vehicle you own.
- Prepare first aid kits and learn how to perform basic first aid. Emergency organizations (e.g., FEMA, Red Cross, etc.) will have essential first aid supplies available online you can assemble in a kit. Keep these kits in easy-to-reach places, such as bathroom or kitchen cabinets, or in your car – or both. But, make sure you know how to use the items in the kit – take the time to learn now.
- Make preparations for those in your family who need special care and keep prescription medication in easy to locate areas.
- Don’t forget about your pets – make sure you have food, a leash and a kennel in an accessible location.
- Other supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, whistle (to signal for help), dust masks, helmets (in case of tornadoes), manual can opener, fully charged cell phone power bank, wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities), garbage bags, moist towelettes, fire extinguisher, and important documents, such as insurance policies and identification.
At Gulf Coast Educators FCU, we have plans in place to respond to any disaster that may affect our branches. We will work with you to make sure your funds are available when you need them the most. In the event that there is a natural disaster we will update this page with current news and credit union hours.
Information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author.