Growing up, one of my parents worked in emergency management. I can tell you how to respond to tornadoes, hurricanes, nuclear attacks, and what to do if you are about to be stuck by lightening. I have long-term food storage items in my pantry and an in-date supply of potassium iodide should there be a nuclear disaster. I know, it sounds crazy…until you’re inside during a global pandemic and about to be hit by a tornado.
Maryland is expecting a strong storm system to move through in the next day along with many other states in our region. Covid-19 has caused many things to close and many services are operating on a delay. We’re all stuck inside so it’s best to do what you can to prepare for extended response times, and other things that may arise. The following are some suggestions to make the potential storm damage easier on you.
- Take a shower (now)-Normally this would go without saying but let’s be real, not everyone is in their normal routine and the last thing you are going to want is to have to go another day or even longer feeling gross. Same thing goes for anyone else in your household. The last, last thing you are going to want is to smell your stinky kids running around for the next few days.
- Fill your fridge and freezer and turn the setting to its coldest-A full refrigerator and freezer hold the cold better than an empty one. If you have things out like bottled waters or other things you can store in the fridge for now add them in to fill the space. If your power goes out temporarily, do your best not to open the fridge to keep your food from spoiling. Perishable food is not meant for long-term storage disaster preparadness and a lot of people who bought 100 packs of chicken may soon find that out the hard way. If you have a generator, make sure it’s easily accessible and operational. If not, make some beef jerky today so you don’t lose everything.
- Fill your bathtub with water-This applies to anyone on a well that requires power for a water source. Once you and the rest of your smelly family has showered for the first time this week, fill your bathtub with water. The last, last, last thing you want is to be stuck in a house where you can’t flush the toilet.
- Charge all of your electronic devices-If you’ve been doing nothing but scrolling facebook since lockdown and your phone battery is on 5%, put down your phone and plug it in.
- If you have outdoor space, secure all your items that may blow away in 60mph wind gusts
- Locate emergency equipment-Stuff like flashlights or candles and make sure they work. I have a solar powered flashlight that I leave in my window. While it may be too late to purchase one for tomorrow, definitely something to think about for the future if you don’t have one.
- Have a tornado plan-This will look different depending on the type of dwelling you live in, but for reference, here is mine. I live in an apartment on the third floor with a dog. I have a bag by the door that has 2 gallons of water, snacks, basic necessities, the dog’s leash, and my keys. In the event of a tornado warning, I can easily grab the dog and the bag and head down three levels into the basement, and if things get bad and we get stuck in there we will have access to food and water until someone finds us.
Stay safe out there guys. This list is not fully inclusive but rather a short list of things you’ll be glad you did if these storms are bad. Feel free to leave any additional tips in the comments.