Hurricane disaster preparedness

Marines patrol past a flooded house in Houston last year.  Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home. Credit: Marine Corps

We hate to sound all public service announcement-y, but now that this year’s hurricane season is off to an active start, FEMA wants to remind you during September’s National Preparedness Month that “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

How do you prepare for any multitude of disasters? FEMA and ready.gov offers these four steps to disaster preparedness:

  • Make and practice your plan.
  • Learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid.
  • Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face.
  • Consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency.

There are countless online resources for emergency preparedness, so we’ve assembled a basic outline of what to do, plus links to helpful resources. There’s plenty you can do now to be prepared in case a disaster strikes locally. (more…)

We were not prepared. Were you?

We were not prepared. Were you?

I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve covered at least a dozen tornadoes in my career, and yet, as
my family and I huddled in the small hallway in the center of our home Saturday night fearfully watching the weather on my iPad, I realized how woefully unprepared we were for a disaster.

I mean, sure, we had the basics down. Shelter. I had my wallet with insurance information, ID, credit cards, etc. We had something to monitor the weather with (our phones and iPad). But sitting on the couch later, anxiously watching the news with my heart in my throat, I realized how many things we missed. The dog was not on a leash. The bike helmets were MIA. The medication I take daily was sitting on the counter in the bathroom. We weren’t even wearing shoes. True, part of that was due to the fact that I could tell only the outer edges of the cell were touching our neighborhood, but later I found that others who thought the same thing were now cleaning up their homes after a tornado hit (in Sunnyvale) just a couple hundred feet from their neighborhood.

What in the hell was I thinking?

So this morning, I decided to talk to an expert, do some research, and make sure my family – and yours – is prepared for the worst. (more…)