Officials met today at the ECU Heart Institute to talk disaster preparedness, and to help the community prepare for, cope with, and recover from a weather disaster. A wide range of experts traveled from across the state for ECU’s third annual Hurricane and Severe Weather Town Hall Meeting. With summer on the horizon and the official start of hurricane season just a few short weeks away, one of the big topics was getting people prepared for a tropical storm or hurricane. Even though the number of storms this season is projected to be below average, it only takes one to cause problems.
“Let’s not let our guard down because we could be impacted by a hurricane this year even though we’re expecting probably less than ten named storms this year. So be prepared” said John Cole, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport.
In fact, about 20% of tropical systems in the Atlantic affect the state in some way.
“You’ve gotta be able to sustain yourself for at least 72 hours, and we say at least because you don’t know when the emergency responders will get to you or how long you’ll be without power or water” said Lauren Gunter, ECU’s Continuity / Emergency Planner.
Getting together an emergency kit, or go kit, is a relatively simple process if you put in some time and effort. It’s something that can cost you a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to.
Gunter offers some advice: “There’s ways to get stuff for fairly cheap if not for free. So look for coupons, there’s nothing wrong with coupon cutting and you can build your kit on a fairly small budget.”
Even better, you may not have to run out to the store and get as much as you think.
“You have half the things probably already in your house. You have some extra batteries lying around, you have some flashlights, you have blankets, you have an extra change of clothes or an old pair of shoes” said Gunter.
Your go kit should also have enough food and water to last you and your family at least three days. And for the items you don’t already have, Gunter suggests putting aside $5 or $10 a week and slowly but surely completing your kit.
A complete list of what you should include in your go kit: http://readync.org/EN/Plan_GetAKit.html
More go kit money saving ideas: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/03/31/emergency-preparedness-on-a-shoestring/