I was lucky enough to be far away from the East Coast when Hurricane Sandy struck in fall of 2012, but I experienced it secondhand through contact with my many friends who live in New York City. Now almost a year has passed. After reflecting on their experiences and stories, I think I can say that we all learned something. Everyone’s story will be different, but here are the three main lessons that I took away from Hurricane Sandy:
You can never overestimate the importance of water. A person can live for weeks without food, but only three days without water. In a disaster situation, your access to clean drinking water may be interrupted indefinitely. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you and your family have no clean water to drink. After Hurricane Sandy, drinking water advisories affected my friends in New York, and they found themselves having to boil water to make sure it was safe to drink. Luckily they were still able to use their stove. In a larger disaster, however, you might not have access to a stove or other means of boiling water to drink. In that case, it’s always better safe than sorry: make sure to pack enough bottled water to last your family for several days in your Emergency Kit. This way no matter what happens, you’ll be sure you all have clean drinking water.
Preparedness is key in an emergency. My friends’ idea of being prepared was mostly limited buying some granola bars and a flashlight, and taping the windows with duct tape. Fortunately, their apartment was mostly unharmed and they were only without power for a week. But in case of a worse situation, they could have been in real trouble.
You should make sure your family has a fully-equipped disaster kit, in a location that everyone knows about – especially the kids. Some things it should include are a flashlight, a blanket, a battery-operated radio (with batteries!), a first aid kit, and non-perishable food. You can find a good emergency preparedness checklist at Nitro-Pak.com, as well as great options for storable food. Shop with a coupon to keep your disaster kit affordable.
Know Your Neighbors
This is critically important in any type of natural disaster. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes are all realities in the United States. There could come a time when you and your neighbors have to rely on each other to make it through a natural disaster. Think about it: do you know your neighbors? Maybe you know their names, or the car they drive. But do you know them well enough to cooperate with them in case of trouble? Do yourself a favor and don’t end up relying on strangers in an emergency – make an effort to get to know your neighbors better, and you can all work as a team if disaster strikes.