By Lina Younes
As many of us are still in the spirit of getting off to a good start in the New Year, I believe it is timely to discuss emergency planning at home so that we can be ready for whatever nature might send our way this year.
As we have often stated during the hurricane season and now during the winter months, it’s important to prepare today in order to be safer tomorrow. I’m sure that many of you have witnessed how there seems to be panic shopping at local supermarkets and hardware stores whenever there are reports of snow storms or hurricanes. So why not stock up on the basic necessities that you will need in the event of an emergency? How can you get ready?
- Stock up on batteries and flashlights when they are on sale.
- Have a battery powered radio at hand.
- Have bottled water at hand in case of an emergency.
- Stock up on canned goods or non-perishable food.
- If you have infants and young children, stock up on baby formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
- Don’t forget your pets. Identify where you can shelter your pets in the event that you may have to evacuate.
- Have a list of your prescriptions and emergency papers on hand in a safe place in the event that you may need to evacuate.
- When developing your family plan, make sure you also develop a contingency plan for your elderly relatives or those with limited mobility in the event of an emergency.
- Something that I learned last summer all to well, fill your tank with gas and have some cash on hand before a major storm because it may be difficult to get these services after a storm or black out.
- Get the emergency numbers for your local utilities and basic services.
- Sign up to receive instant messages with updated news and emergency information.
- In the event of a power outage, NEVER USE A GENERATOR INSIDE. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning from generator exhaust.
Remember, basic planning will keep you and your loved ones safe. Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us?
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.