Preparing for Disaster

Posted By on September 24, 2008

“How did you do?” For the first days after Hurricane Ike, that’s the first question that came to your lips when running into someone you knew. Or even people you didn’t know. Of course, in Texas, that question sounds more like “How’d ya’ do?” However you say it, it was an opening for you to say whether or not you have power, rode the storm out here or elsewhere, and what damage you had. The hurricane is a shared experience for the community and becomes a bookmark in our lives.

I rode out the storm with my brother and sister-in-law. Between the three of us, we had prepared well for the storm and had plenty of water, food, full gas tanks, and matches for the gas stove. My brother and sister-in-law thought I was crazy when I said we needed to fill the bathtub to flush the toilets, but the day after the storm, they were glad we did it.

When I saw the photos of people cleaning up their homes, I was surprised by a few things people didn’t take when they evacuated. People were drying photo albums or searching for their jewelry box. I kept thinking to myself, “I wonder why they didn’t take that.” Evacuating your home isn’t easy. You’re running on adrenaline and worry, and not thinking straight. I know. I’ve been there.

Two years ago when I evacuated for Hurricane Rita, I was amazed how easy it was to go through my house and say, “yep, that’s replaceable.” I left the photos in frames but filled my two laundry baskets with my boxes of photo albums, negatives and digital CDs. I packed my laptop, my journals, my important papers, a suitcase full of clothes, some jewelry, a couple of antique Christmas ornaments, and most importantly, the doll I’ve had since I was one. When I left, Hurricane Rita was a category five storm, and I didn’t want to have any regrets about what I left behind.

Planning is the key to preparation. The time to plan for a hurricane and other natural disasters is BEFORE disaster strikes. Go through your house. What would you want to take? What do you love? Make a list and keep it with your vital papers. Hopefully, you won’t have to use it, but you will feel better being prepared.

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