When a tropical storm is on the horizon and you have just one day to prepare, every minute counts. The key is to act swiftly, prioritize essential tasks, and ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Here’s a focused guide on what you should be doing the day before a tropical storm arrives:
1. Stay Informed
- Tune in to local news and weather updates: Information changes rapidly, so it’s crucial to stay updated on the storm’s trajectory and potential impact.
- Know the difference: Understand if you’re under a tropical storm watch (conditions possible) or warning (conditions expected).
2. Secure Your Home
- Windows: If you don’t have storm shutters, board up windows with plywood to protect them from potential flying debris.
- Outdoor objects: Bring inside or securely tie down anything that can be picked up by the wind, such as garden furniture, plant pots, and bicycles.
- Doors: Make sure all doors, including garage doors, are securely closed and locked. If possible, brace or reinforce your garage door.
- Roof and gutters: Clear out gutters and drains to prevent water logging. If you have loose tiles or roofing, secure them as best as you can.
3. Gather Supplies
- Water and Food: Stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food items. A rule of thumb is a three-day supply per person.
- Medications: Ensure you have enough prescription and over-the-counter medications that any family member might need.
- Power alternatives: Charge all your electronic devices, including backup power banks. Have flashlights, candles, and extra batteries at the ready.
- Important documents: Place passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, and other critical documents in a waterproof bag or container.
4. Evacuation Readiness
- Know your route: Even if you plan to stay put, have an evacuation route mapped out in case conditions worsen and you need to leave quickly.
- Prepare your vehicle: If you have a car, fill up the gas tank and park it in a safe, accessible place.
- Pack a bag: Keep an emergency bag packed with essentials (clothing, toiletries, medicines, and important documents) should you need to evacuate quickly.
5. Protect Valuables
- Elevate furniture: If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, try to elevate your furniture, electronics, and other valuables.
- Waterproofing: Use plastic sheets, tarps, or even trash bags to cover and protect valuable items from potential water damage.
- Notify someone: Tell a friend or family member outside the storm area about your whereabouts and plans. This ensures someone is aware of your location and situation.
- Neighborhood check: If safe, check with neighbors to see if they need assistance. Working together can often make preparations more efficient.
7. Plan for Pets
- Shelter: Make sure you have a secure place for your pets. If evacuating, know which shelters or hotels are pet-friendly.
- Supplies: Stock up on pet food, water, medications, and other supplies your pets might need.
8. Mental Preparation
- Stay calm: Panic can lead to mistakes. Take deep breaths, make lists, and tackle tasks one at a time.
- Children: Talk to children about what’s happening in a way they can understand. Reassure them, and try to maintain some routines for comfort.
Wrapping Up: The Power of Preparedness
The unpredictable nature of tropical storms can be daunting, but the strength and resilience we can find in adequate preparation should not be underestimated. While we cannot control the weather, our proactive efforts the day before a storm can make a substantial difference in how we weather it. Taking charge, prioritizing tasks, and acting swiftly can reduce risks and ensure the safety of both ourselves and our loved ones. Remember, material possessions can be replaced, but life cannot. The time and energy invested in preparation are invaluable, offering peace of mind and a stronger position to face the storm. As the saying goes, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Stay safe, stay informed, and always prioritize well-being above all else.