by Walter W. Murray, survival expert
At least five people were killed Monday after severe weather swept across multiple states the southern U.S. From Texas to Florida, the storm caused numerous tornadoes and flash flooding in areas already drenched by days of rain and proved that Mother Nature is a fickle beast.
Weather can be more dangerous and deadly than any weapon known to man — and meteorologists are warning residents near the Rocky Mountains that similar, potentially deadly storms are heading their way.
That means today is the day to prepare. Readers may not be able to exactly predict the weather, but there are five steps YOU can take – today – to get ready for anything.
Here are five basic steps to get you and your family prepared for the next round of storms, whether it happens tomorrow or next year…. and you can do so both affordably and easily.
These tips will give you some ideas to put in place now, so you and your loved ones will be ready when the time comes.
Step one — Make a family emergency plan
This is the most important thing you can do. Sit down and talk with your family about what they need to do when they hear the tornado sirens or get the severe weather alert warning on their phones.
Nobody needs to be a hero. Instead, explain that the best step is getting to shelter.
If you have children, designate areas they should take cover. Physically show them what they should do, and, if you have time, begin running basic drills with the family until it becomes second nature. When storms strike, you don’t want them panicking and running scared.
Plan and prepare and everyone will have better chances of survival. Make sure your plans include a meeting place in case the storm strikes when you are away from home.
Step two – Get a three-day stockpile of basic food and water
In the aftermath of a storm, food and drinkable water may be in short supply. You need to have some stored away in a safe place.
Food should be non-perishable and not need refrigeration. Freeze-dried foods are the first choice – but if that is not available, canned goods and a can opener are available at your local grocery store, and are the next best option.
Make sure to store the food in buckets sealed with a lid.
This will ensure that, in the event of flooding, the food will be kept dry and edible.
As for water, a 3-day supply is the rule of thumb — One gallon of water per family member per day. If you can’t store water, store water purification tablets.
Step three – Have an emergency kit
Put together an emergency kit that will help you get through a power outage. Store the kit in a water-tight plastic container.
The kit should include flashlights, spare batteries, a portable cell phone charger and emergency phone numbers. Candles are generally not a good idea — after a tornado there could be gas leaks, and an open flame could be devastating.
If you have prescription medicines, ask your doctor for an extra week’s supply to keep in your kit. Your kit should also include several Mylar blankets. These can be used to keep you warm and they make excellent signaling tools.
Having a can of neon spray paint on hand is also a good plan. It can be used to send a message to rescuers that will by flying overhead.
Step four — Prepare your home
Now that you have a plan, an emergency supply and food and water, and a basic survival kit, you can start to do some basic things to fortify your home and make it a bit safer.
Have extra sheets of plywood on hand to board up the windows – Flying glass is a major hazard, and you don’t want to be caught in the scramble to stock up the day-of at your local hardware store.
Use wall anchors to secure heavy bookcases, hutches or headboards. Trim back any tree branches that are dead and will snap off in heavy winds.
Step five — Safety first
It may sound silly, but having helmets on hand can be a huge help. They don’t have to be fancy.
Visit a thrift store or Army surplus store and pick up a helmet for each member of the family. Protecting your head from flying debris is important. Have heavy blankets on hand as well, to protect your body from sharp objects.
Five simple steps that won’t break the bank – and that you can do today to ensure tomorrow is safe.
When Monday’s storms strike your neighborhood, don’t be a victim – be prepared.
You can’t prevent a tornado from happening, but you can be prepared to live through it and the aftermath. Do what you can to prepare your family in case another round of storms whips through your area.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is a survival expert with decades of experience in prepping and the author of “The Case For The Coming Totalitarianism”.