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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Severe Weather Helpful Hints

In my part of West Tennessee, we are entering our spring-time severe weather season. I've gone through our safe room to make sure all of our items are on-hand for those times when we'll have to make the dash into our safe room due to severe weather alerts:

Backup water
Battery operated weather radio
2 way radio
Small hatchet
72-hour kits nearby
Blankets and pillows nearby

One thing I always have on hand when we all head to our storm-safe room is an "Emergency Identification Card". At the beginning of each storm season (spring and fall), I take a few minutes to jot down our personal info on an index card that I then put in a ziplock bag. I include the following information on the card:

Name of each family member
Brief description (sex, height, weight, hair color, eye color and age)
Our home address and phone number
Emergency Contact Information

Whenever we head to our safe room I make sure I have this card in my pocket. Heaven forbid something terrible should happen, at least there would be a way for rescuers to hopefully help identify us.

You can also consider having "dog tags" printed up for each family member. We have these as well and have them hanging on the key rack just outside our downstairs bathroom, which serves as our safe room. Each person could put on their "dog tag" before heading in to the safe room.

We purchased ours here: 1800NameTapes

These are also handy for keeping id information in your child's backpack, sports bags, etc.

We also make sure that whenever we go to bed, everyone has a flashlight on their nightstand and sturdy shoes at the ready beside their bed. If we have to rush to our safe room during the middle of the night, everyone knows to grab their pillow, flashlight and shoes and head for safety whenever we give the alert.

On days or evenings when we have several hours of advance notice of severe weather possibilities, I take the time to go ahead and prep our safe room with some "extras" just in case we need them. I'll go ahead and put in a pair of socks and shoes for each person, make sure a cell phone and charger is there, make sure blankets and pillows are already in place, a "security" item or toy for each child, etc. It really doesn't take that much extra time to put these things in place or to put them away if we end up not needing them.

You should really practice sometime waking your children from a sound sleep to head to your safe room to see how long it takes. Believe it or not, there are lots of stories out there of children (and adults!) sleeping so soundly that they never even hear a smoke alarm go off, even when it is in the hallway just outside their rooms! It would pay to try this sometime to see how smoothly it would go for your family should an actual emergency actually occur.

Stay safe this spring season and make sure you are prepared!

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