Photo via Pixabay by Skeeze
Summer weather means many different things to different people, depending on where they live. But one common thread that links them all is that summertime brings a mess of storms, floods, and dangerous lightning. It’s important to be prepared for all types of weather so you’ll have peace of mind that your family is safe when the time comes, which usually means a bit of preparation and planning.
The first thing you should do is find out what your area is most at risk for. Tornadoes and floods affect a good portion of the U.S., so knowing how to prepare for these is a good idea. Sit down with your family and work out a disaster plan, including details on where to meet if you get separated and where disaster supplies are located in the house.
Such supplies can be kept in a large box for easy access and should include a large flashlight and batteries, a battery-operated radio, non-perishable snacks and bottled water, disposable ponchos, blankets, a first-aid kit, and an extra cell phone charger. It might be a good idea to stash a little extra cash in there, as well. If a storm requires your family to evacuate your home, you can grab the box, throw it in the car, and get to someplace safe without worrying about grabbing the necessary items.
Flooding is a big problem on the East Coast, so if you live on that side of the country you might consider buying flood insurance. During storm season, pack a box with all the items listed above, only plan for at least three days worth of food and water for each person in case you get stuck in a high area and have to wait for help to arrive. Also include a manual can-opener, changes of clothing, medications, important paperwork (in a resealable plastic bag), and any sanitary or hygiene items your family might need.
Tornadoes cause quite a bit of damage throughout the U.S. every year, and since they sometimes require immediate action, it’s important to have a good plan in place that the entire family is familiar with. That starts with having everyone meet in the innermost room of the house, or in a basement away from windows. Bathrooms in the middle of the home are great places to take shelter, and you might consider dragging a mattress inside with you to tent over everyone should debris fall. Make sure any outdoor toys or furniture are either brought inside or bolted down well to decrease the risk that they will go flying in high winds.
One of the most difficult things about summer is, of course, the heat. Many states reach 90 degrees or above during the summer months, so it’s imperative that everyone in the family is aware of the safety guidelines for extreme heat. Staying hydrated is at the top of the list, but so is wearing light, breathable layers of clothing that can be removed if a person starts to overheat. Save outdoor tasks, like lawn-mowing, for twilight hours when the sun isn’t at full force. Wear a hat and sunblock any time you’re outside, and be mindful of family members or neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially those who are elderly or who have babies.
The heat also brings wildfires to the West Coast. If you live in this area, you should have a disaster plan well in place before summer arrives. Keep a small, battery-operated radio with fresh batteries handy to stay informed of any evacuation plans. Make sure all family members of age have their phones with them and a charger at all times so they can be reached. Decide on a place to meet in case the evacuation begins while you are split up. Keep sandbags and a small shovel near your home and some in the trunk of your car in case you encounter small fires on the road, and keep bottled water and fireproof blankets in the trunk of your car as well.
Summer is, of course, the best time for family fun, but it never hurts to be prepared as well. Remember to keep abreast of weather reports–either by radio or your phone–and don’t hesitate in an evacuation.
Sean Morris became a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get to spend more time with his kids. He enjoys sharing his experiences via LearnFit.org and hopes writing for the site will help him provide other parents with tips and advice on juggling life, career, and family.