As much as I love summer, the one thing that I dread is a hurricane season. The formation of Tropical Storm Debby, is a good reminder to prepare your family in case an evacuation is needed this hurricane season. The more preparation, the less scrambling you will be doing if the time comes to evacuate. Here are a few tips compiled by a group of seasoned evacuees.
- Get your car and tires inspected! You never know how much driving you will doing in an unfamiliar place. Safety first!
- Get together copies of your child’s shot records, report card, important medical records, and IEPs if your child has special needs.
- Don’t forget Fido and get copies of your pet’s heath and shot records. If you have to kennel them in another city you will need this documentation to prevent them from getting additional shots and you paying a vet bill.
- If your pet has anxiety or car sickness, this is a good time to communicate with your vet about what can be done to make your evacuation easier. A sick or anxious can make being stuck on the interstate miserable.
- Invest in a paper map (a.k.a Cajun GPS) because when you use back roads or contraflow (when all lanes are directed in one direction) your GPS can be useless and frustrating.
- Speaking of frustrating, if possible, leave early enough to avoid contraflow. It can bring you far from your intended destination.
- Get an address book and write all of your contacts cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and probable evacuation point.
- This a good time to learn how to text. After Hurricane Katrina, texting was a semi-reliable way to communicate.
- Make sure to keep your original prescription bottles with the labels on them and take those with you. If you have a national pharmacy it’s easier to get medications filled in another city.
- Scan, scan, and scan your photographs. Burn them to disks because they are much easier to evacuate with. I still have a photo crate in the guest closet that stays packed all year round that I grab and go.
- I use a small, portable file cabinet to put important papers in such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance documents, passports, a copy of each of your bills, credit card information, and the list goes on.
- Take pictures of the interior and exterior of your home. Make sure to include the contents of your garage and shed. Video is also suggested. It’s very hard to catalog everything from memory
If the time does come that evacuating to a safer place is necessary remember that it can be overwhelming for kids. Especially kids that now fully understand the destruction and devastation that can be left behind after the storm. Here are a few tips to keep them occupied:
- When packing, try to give them a small task that makes them feel like they are contributing. Even something like folding clothes for suitcases or bathing the dog for a car ride.
- Let each child pack a travel bag for the car (a school bag works well). Tell them to pack activity books, portable game players, and anything that can keep their attention.
- Portable DVD players are great for the car. Just make sure you bring the car charger and DVD’s.
- Bring board games and a deck of cards to play with when you arrive at your destination, these will keep every one’s focus off the news.
- Pack more than just t-shirts, gym shorts, and flip-flops.
- Remember things like glasses and extra contacts, phone chargers, camera, and misc. items that you can’t live without.
- A radio walkman, I used this to listen to WWL 870am (the New Orleans news station) and other news outlets without my son getting scared by it.
This is an incomplete list of things to do to prepare and items not to forget. The most important thing is to never let kids see how stressed and scared we are. Reassure them that they are safe and loved.
What do you do to prepare for an evacuation or natural natural disaster?
What are some other ways to keep kids calm when things are stressful?
Share your thoughts below.