Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us
by Dave Robinson
Severe Weather Planning
Originally published August 30, 2012
As the seasons change and we seem to be working our way out of the rainy season, I find myself breathing easier. And though adverse conditions are always a possibility, the hazards seem to lessen this time of year. (Of course the fact that I’m writing this after one of the most beautiful Spring days we’ve had so far has nothing to do with my optimism!) But it’s also the time of year when the rest of the country has worries about tornadoes, hurricanes and hailstones the size of golf balls and bigger.
For us it may be time to take a look at our emergency kit. If you stocked up on jerky a few months ago, or if cheese crackers are a part of your get home bag (like mine) then you may want to rotate your supplies. Check for freshness or vermin or just make sure that the dates are current on your canned goods. If not then it’s time to move those items to the front of the shelf and re-stock with fresh. I use a vacuum food sealer to store some items (not just food) to keep them dry and dust-free. I have found that sometimes the seals come undone, so be sure to double-check those items and re-seal the ones that need it.
Check your emergency water supply. Those 2 ½ gallon jugs with the built-in spigot are really handy for short-term use, camping and sliding in the refrigerator, but they tend to leak if you leave them in the closet for lengthy periods of time. Personal sized water bottles are handy to have, but they too, need to be exchanged for fresh ones after a few months.
I rarely recommend gadgets and gizmos to purchase, but after you’ve saved up for your water filter, I suggest buying a NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information 24-7. NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 telephone outages). Make sure it’s one that is battery powered. There are also several that are solar, hand-cranked, and battery powered. One for every budget. Shop around and find one that appeals to you.
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Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.
additional columns by Dave Robinson