To promote National Hurricane Awareness week in America, a contest was held asking people to submit a photo with their home emergency kits. One lucky winner would be randomly selected and win a $75 Home Depot gift card. The winning entry featured a man, his wife and cat in front of their kit. That man was me, and I was the only entry.
According to the American Red Cross, 97% of Americans have not taken the basic steps toward disaster preparedness. To combat this, every year in the months leading up to hurricane season, a team of StormGeo meteorologists travel all over the US to speak to businesses about the importance of preparedness in case of a storm or hurricane. The presentation includes how to build an emergency kit, how/when/where to evacuate, home prep, family prep and our exclusive StormGeo Seasonal Hurricane Forecast.
As part of this team, I hear the same questions or reasons why people have not prepared over and over again. Here are some of the most common:
Let’s start with the first point – the importance of knowing what to expect. A large part of being prepared is educating yourself on whether the coming year is considered to be a “busy” hurricane season with many storms, or a “quiet” season; as well as where those storms may be. A busier season can of course, increase the risk that you or your community is affected. However, it is most important to remember that it only takes one storm to cause devastation to businesses, homes and families. This is the #1 reason we advocate for being prepared.
A common misconception is the idea that in the days or hours before a storm, you can run to the store to buy a few batteries, a roll of duct tape, some food and water and be done. In reality, an emergency kit is much more extensive. A medium-sized kit can include 30 items, including flashlights, tools, a basic first-aid kit, an AM/FM radio, chargers, water containers, water filters and more. Larger kits can contain dehydrated food, 2-way radios, headlamps, cleaning supplies, more extensive first aid supplies, maps, home-repair materials, pet supplies and more. See a full list of recommended kit items here.
This might seem like overkill, but the purpose for these kits is not is not to sustain a family for a few hours until the lights come back on, but to help to withstand days where basic necessities are not readily available. In fact, the US Federal Emergency Management Administration recommends citizens be prepared to be self-reliant for five days. Start building your kit now with the items you deem most important and add to it when time and money allows.
Being prepared is a decision. Home and auto insurance is, for the most part, mandatory, but being prepared is not. There are no federal regulations for preparedness, you won’t get arrested if you run out of supplies and you won’t be denied assistance because you were unprepared. It’s up to you to determine that a local disaster is possible and that being prepared is a far better place to be than unprepared.
We at StormGeo know that by advocating for preparedness, our clients’ employees will be safer. This alone gives companies peace of mind, but it is also important to note that being prepared increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of recovering after a natural disaster.
To learn more about how you can make your business prepared for disaster, contact a StormGeo meteorologist: ready.houston@StormGeo.com