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Preparing for Extreme Weather (with kids)

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As the whole east coast prepares for Hurricane Irma, there is a TON of information flying around. It can be very overwhelming trying to piece it all together. But you know me, I am going to try to help y’all out. If you have questions beyond what’s on this list, ask away. I will do my best to track down an answer or point you in the right direction. So how do we prepare for extreme weather with kids?

A Hodge Podge list of things I haven’t seen posted anywhere else:

  1. Let kids help in the preparations. Kids are going to be anxious as they hear about what’s coming and see things on TV, online and see their parents getting ready. Talk about how preparing helps, why we prepare, what different things are for. It gives them a sense of inclusion, action and helps demystify what in the world is going on.
  2. You know you have to stock up on food. Create a stash of fun food. Get fun food such as chips, chocolate, favorite juice boxes. It lightens cabin fever if the kids are getting treats. And see #5.
  3. Stock up on things for the kids to do with no power. Not only for during the storm, it’s not uncommon to be without power for days after extreme weather. Games, books, arts and crafts, etc.
  4. Make an “I’m Bored” jar filled with non-power things for kids to do. 15 Rainy Day Ideas has some good ideas to put on slips in your jar. The “I’m Bored” jar also lessens arguing over what to do next.
  5. Wine, coffee, OTC meds (like Benadryl) all need to be in your rations for a few days of being home.
  6. Be mindful of trash. Clean out the fridge and freezer now. If your trash pick up is not Thursday or Friday, take ALL the trash to the dump soon. If trash pickup is delayed by several days and if everyone is home for several days, the trash accumulates QUICKLY.
  7. Go ahead and catch up that laundry this weekend. That way you know everyone has clean clothes for the week and it’s one less thing to have to figure out how to do with no power.
  8. Think about your neighbors and nearby friends. When the storm has cleared, organize neighborhood games. Swap out play time. Think one of those traveling dinner parties, but traveling packs of kids for play dates to give each other a break. Offer to keep kids if school is still out but a nearby parent HAS to go to work.

On to other lists …

Important websites to visit, check their lists, watch for information, etc:

SC Emergency Management Divisionwww.scemd.org is full of information. They will also post all necessary updates about watches, warnings, evacuations, etc.

SC DOT Hurricane Irma Resourceshttp://www.scdot.org/getting/IrmaStormResources.aspx has Evacuation Routes, road closures for SC DOT maintained roads and other info.

SC Dept of Public Safetyhttp://www.scdps.gov/schp/webcad.asp has a real time traffic information for DPS/Highway Patrol. Lexington County and the surrounding area is under “Troop One”.

Lexington Countyhttp://www.lex-co.sc.gov/Pages/default.aspx If there are road closures of County maintained roads and other pertinent information, Lexington County will post links on their home page.

I can not stress this enough! Go to SCEMD’s website look at all their list and prepare!

SCEMD Family Disaster Plan

SCEMD Family Emergency Kit

In addition to your local and national news stations for weather alerts and tips, we are big fans of “South Carolina Weather”. You can follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MySCWeather/

Other tips I’ve pulled from the internet and social media that make a lot of sense:

You need water. Lots and lots of water. Not only for drinking, but for cleaning and cooking. Fill containers. Fill up your tub and use that water to flush toilet. But make sure you use something to actual block the drain or the water will slowly drain from the tub. A large plastic liner or tarp may work. An old fashion plastic drain stopper? All of the above? You can also fill buckets with water.

Fill up resealable plastic bags with water. Leave space at top for expansion. Stack them up in the freezer. They will help keep food cold after the power goes out. And as they thaw, the water can be used.

Don’t forget you will also need water and extra food for your pets! Also have collars on and leashes handy. If you need to quickly get to a safe place in your house and they are freaking out, you may need to drag coerce them.

Have cash on hand. You may need cash to buy things.

Take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Of basically everything. All of your valuables, all of your important papers, every wall and corner of every room. Insurance will need pictures of your belongings if they need to be replaced. You will need pictures of important papers for information. After you have taken all the pictures (or videos would also work for rooms), email them to yourself and/or load them to a cloud service.

Put your important papers and pictures in a resealable plastic bag. Then another turned the other one. Then put it all in a plastic container.

I’ve read several places that the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer make handy “safes” to store valuables. They are really sturdy with doors that seal well. Just make sure you unplug them or turn the power off at the breakers so no one accidentally washes or melts anything important.

Have all the super important stuff in an easily carried, movable, grab and go container in case you need to evacuate quickly. Right next to a “go bag”.

Share your emergency plans with friends and family and one designated “communications” contact out of town. It’s easier to call one person than 20 to let them know you are ok and/or where you are. Those 20 can call your one designated person or check their social media for updates. Also share you’re really important papers with one person or at least tell them how they can access online copies.

Print out hard copies of important info, contact numbers and emergency procedures to have on hand if power goes out.

Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disable ones.

Well guys, I think that’s it for now. I will add to this list if I came across anything that is not covered here and/or on the websites I’ve listed. I will do my best to share important information on our social media. And as silly as it sounds to some, I will do my best to share fun/silly/we’re-all-in-this-together posts. One of my favorite memories is the Hour by Hour Winter Survival Tips from several years ago. We had a good time making this most of an insanity filled few days 🙂

Holler if you have questions or something you think we should add!

Hugs to all of you! I love you to pieces! PLEASE prepare and plan!

 

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