The weatherman says our first named hurricane has entered the Gulf of Mexico. While it is not projected to make landfall near my side of the state, it is projected to dump a lot of heavy weather my way. With this in mind, we spent some time this week preparing for the possibility of local flooding, power outages, and possible wind damage. For our family, this is a yearly event. Being from Kansas, myself, and having lived in Texas many years, storms are a norm for me. Our little family has seen our share of damage and frustration as a result of a storm...we have learned a few things along the way. Here is what we have learned from our experience.
First, know your family..what are you personally able to endure? What are your reasonable limits? Can you endure days, weeks or longer without electricity? Are you able to save and store necessities, rotate them, and use them? Do you have responsibilities that keep you here (we have a farm)? Once you know your limits, strengths, weaknesses, you can plan from there. If you have small children- it may be wiser for you to move to higher ground..especially if family is in a better location than you are. We have teens, animals that depend on us, and we are experienced at stocking, rotating and using staples/nonperishables...we have plenty of camping experience and equipment...this known, we tend to stay put.
Second, know your environment- what is your area likely to experience? At what point, if any, do you flood? Does your home seem to be in a sheer wind or tornado pathway? Do you have a safe area in case of tornado or wind activity? We personally live in an area that has had minor street flooding, though none has ever entered our house - to date. Also, this house has experienced several scrapes with sheer winds and tornadoes..and we live in a wooded area, so tree damage is very likely (we have had our share of it).
Third, know what you know- do you know how to store necessities, or enough food to sustain your family, or the water you would need for several days, gas, feed? Can you cook outdoors? Wash clothes without electricity? Are you okay without air conditioning? Do you have a generator- does it work- do you have gas to run it? We grew up this way- we stock and store- we rotate supplies- we know how to prepare food on open fire and on a grill (and have propane and charcoal if needed). We have washed clothes on a washboard and line dried them...we are not accustom to air conditioning...and we have a generator (only since last year), gas, and the ability to repair it.
Another important point..know what's around you...do you have younger families near you? Elderly? A nursing home? A church? Be aware of persons that may need extra assistance during distress or disaster..help another when it is in our power to do so. Knowing where a shelter in place is located could be vital not only to yourself, but someone near you. We have older family near us that manage well on their own, yet live in a flood prone area...we keep check on them. Our road has many young families with small children...we check on them. Our church is a shelter in place, had a food pantry, and is situated near persons who live in the river bottoms...they need checked on in a disaster.
Now, most of this is information to ponder- yes, however, it is always wise to at least store water (some for drinking/some for other), a few nonperishables...do up your laundry (if you know a storm is likely), and have a plan. Our family knows - if you're caught outdoors either head to the barn and tuck yourself between the stalls and hay bales, or head to the house and tuck yourself in the hall. They know to turn off TVs and computers and stay off the phones- and away from windows. We have certainly learned some of this the hard way!
God gave us a great many blessings in our day and age...use them to your advantage, be wise, be prepared.. it is not wasted. Take care of yourselves, pray for others around you, pray for those whom this storm has already touched, and pray for those in its path. We will be praying...God bless.