Saturday marks the official start of hurricane season. The Texas Gulf Coast Region of the American Red Cross is urging everyone to prepare now— they say waiting until the last minute won’t work.
The main three steps are to have a kit, to be informed and to have a plan.
When it comes to having a kit, it should be ready at a moment’s notice. You'll want it stocked with the following:
- enough food and water for the whole family for three days
- a way to communicate if phones do not work such as a radio
- extra charging materials
- first-aid supplies
- any mandatory medications
It's also important to be informed. You'll want to have a clear understanding what kinds of threats could happen— whether it's flooded roadways, hazardous debris and so on.
Finally, having a plan that includes where you would go in an emergency situation is vital. It is also important to plan out who you would contact during an emergency situation, whether that be loved ones or neighbors.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about being ready way ahead of time, just in case.
“Really it’s about having a kit, making sure that you’re informed and then making sure you have that plan ready to act," said CEO Henry Van de Putte of the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region. "It’s important because when the hurricane is already bearing down on you. It’s already too late to think of these things. It’s best to really plan these things out.”
Van de Putte said the organization recently got a new emergency response vehicle, or ERV, which will really come in handy if we are in a situation where families are cut off from other services.
It'll also give the American Red Cross the ability to deliver food and supplies to people who need it. Several generous donations made this happen. The organization has served thousands of people from vehicles like this in the past— and this new ERV is the latest and greatest. Here's just a few of the added improvements:
- more energy efficient than previous models
- can better navigate difficult terrain and debris
- equipped with WiFi so that volunteers can help people fill out forms at disaster scenes
- Two large windows that open up and allow volunteers to feed people more efficiently
“It’s all about communication and life support, and really that immediate relief in any way, shape or form," Van de Putte said. "Sometimes, just hearing the voices of help is on its way. We’re coming down your street or some announcements about the predicament that the family may be in provides that little bit of hope, and so that’s what this vehicle can do in all shapes and sizes.”