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Six steps you should take to prepare for a weather emergency

Written by Diane Archer

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, be it thunderstorms, hurricanes or snow, you need to be prepared. Older adults living alone, especially should have what they need in case of emergency.  Here are six steps that the Center for Disease Control and others recommend you take to prepare:

  1. Stay safe and warm
    • Make sure that your fireplace or wood stove is in good working order if you’re planning to use them to keep warm. Your local fire department can recommend someone to come check the chimney or flue.
    • Be sure to have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. You should also have extra blankets and/or space heaters.
    • If possible, weatherproof your home, insulating walls and attics and weather-stripping windows and doors to ensure you stay warm.
  2. Prepare a plan to keep in contact with family and neighbors. Have a back-up portable battery charger for your mobile phone. Talk to your family and neighbors about how you will communicate with each other in an emergency.
  3. Lighting and cooking: Be sure you have a working flashlight and extra batteries in case you lose electricity. Do not use a gas grill to stay warm because fumes are dangerous.
  4. Health: Have a first-aid kit on hand, including an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer, bandages, antibiotic ointment and a dust mask.
  5. Food and drinking water
    • Federal Emergency and Management Agency recommends three gallons of drinking water, which should last three days.
    • Unsalted nuts and/or peanut butter or another butter from a nut, such as almond or cashew butter.  They are rich in protein.  Try to make sure they are pure, without additives.
    • Apples and oranges, which can stay fresh for several days and have lots of good nutrients.
    • Canned or dried fruits and vegetables: But, be sure to get the ones with low sodium, which are healthier and less likely to make you thirsty.
    • Canned tuna, sardines and salmon packed in water.
    • Protein bars.
  6. Plastic bags: They are multi-purpose, for trash, to cover an area that needs protecting, even as protection from rain or leaks.

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