Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lessons Watching Irma from Afar

As you all know by now, I am in love with Key West, so I've spent a nail-biting four days watching Hurricane Irma approach and pass over the island. Right now, it looks like Key West was mostly spared, although islands in the middle keys were not as lucky.

I've watched everyone pass wisdom around the internet, some of it useless and some of it downright destructive, and it reminds me that we all need a well-thought-out disaster plan well in advance of anything that may hit us. To that end, I thought I'd share a few tips that I have recently read that I thought were particularly helpful. If you have others or can contribute your own experience, please comment!

Additions to Your Disaster Plan

  • Plan your "bug out outfit" or "disaster outfit" in advance. Try to come up with something that will handle various temperatures and situations. You may want a pair of quick-dry pants (nylon fishing pants work well in lots of climates) with cargo pockets; for cold weather, you can always add a silk base layer. Consider layering a tank top and an active-wear sweater if you are in a cooler area. Don't forget socks and hiking boots or something that will protect your toes from injury or infection. Break your shoe in ahead of time. Don't forget a hat for both temperature and sun protection.
  • Sleep in your evacuation clothes. For disasters that come upon us suddenly, like rising water, you won't have time to get dressed, and no one wants to be on the news wearing undies and a t-shirt, to say nothing of sitting on their own roof that way waiting to be rescued. 
  • Likewise, pack a bag ahead of time. Make sure you have all of your medications, a knife, a whistle, and some ID in there, in addition to a full water bottle and some portable food, like granola bars. Take a couple of extra pairs of socks and some quick-drying undies, if you have them. Don't forget a flashlight, because you will be saving your phone for communication.
  • Along the same lines, keep all of your electronics (like phone, tablet, etc.) fully charged for as long as you maintain power, and have a few external chargers as a backup.
  • Even if you don't like social media, get a Facebook account. You don't have to do anything with it, but if you are in a disaster like Irma, you can post your whereabouts and tag family outside the disaster zone to let them know your status and potentially how to send help. Don't forget to set your posts to "public" so they are more easily visible. For all of its security-related downfalls, Facebook seems to have consistently been the one social medium that updates regularly and that is used by all ages, making it a good communication tool in emergency when appropriate.
  • Freeze large freezer-type bags of water to stock your chest and fridge freezers. They will help keep the contents cold, and you will have drinkable water as they melt.
  • Fill every receptacle with water while you can. Your bathtub and washing machine will hold water for washing and flushing your toilet.  Every large pot and jar should hold drinkable water. Remember, you don't have to buy water to have a good supply of it as long as you plan ahead.


What is your favorite disaster tip? Did you learn anything from Irma?
Pin It!