Be prepared for storms this year

Published 9:05 am Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hurricane season is here. We knew it was coming but, like many other things in our lives, we don’t really deal with it until we have to.

My mother used to say, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” That phrase always came after something she had promised and I knew she was good as her word, but there was always the possibility that whatever it was, it could be cancelled out by something that was out of her hands.

Well, we know that if a hurricane comes our way, it is definitely out of our hands. But how we prepare for it is definitely in our control because that creek can rise, the wind can blow, the trees can fall, the electric service can disappear and we will  just have to cope with all of that and probably much more.  And so we make a plan.  Since we usually have the grace of knowing pretty much the area of landfall ahead of time, the first thing we decide is whether to stay and shelter in place or leave the area.  On your list of things to take care of: is the gas tank in the vehicle full?  What about the pets and their needs?  Does the rest of your family know of your plan? Did you plan to leave a destination note (the freezer is a good place) in the event your home is damaged and someone needs to be in touch with you? If you stay put, is there water and food in the house to last several days? Do you have a way to heat it?  Perhaps you have a generator.  Have you tested it lately and is there gasoline available?  Do you have flashlights ready with good batteries? Some cash money? What about essential medicines?  Don’t forget  bleach and antiseptic wipes. The list goes on but you get the idea. Make a plan, get your supplies together and be prepared.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After Hurricane Katrina, we had many folks who left areas all along the gulf coast ahead of the storm. One family I met was at a nearby hotel.  They had left their home at the last minute. The man was very ill and on oxygen so his wife and daughter loaded him and a few possessions in the car and left. They did have a plastic box of important documents but little else. They thought they would only be gone for a couple of days but when they made a quick trip to survey the damage, there was nothing left on the property but the concrete slab.  This family regretted that they had not thought about photo albums and other precious items but it was too late.

We can’t just hope that the creek won’t rise and the wind won’t blow. We can do our best to be ready to be prepared and safe until the sun comes out and the electricity comes back.  Today is the best day to make your personal plan.  Why not start today?

Joan Hackman is director of the local American Red Cross chapter.