by Tina Seymour Demoran

Hurricanes and Preparedness:

As we enter this hurricane season, I thought a column on ensuring that you and your family are prepared would be appropriate.

One area that I cover in my hurricane preparedness seminars deals with how to ensure that your loved ones are safe before and after a disaster or an emergency.

While I couldn’t possibly cover every topic that we cover in our seminars, here’s a quick to-do list as we head into this year’s hurricane season:

Help your loved one organize and secure valuable documents. Make copies to store at your own home that are in an easy-to-find grab and go pack.

These items could include: • List of emergency contacts, including family members • Important medical information, including copies of insurance cards, doctors’ names and phone numbers, prescriptions, and immunizations • Birth, death, and marriage certificates • Adoption papers • Photos or videos of possessions • Military records • Social Security cards • Mortgage/property deeds • Car titles • Insurance policies (life, health, disability, long-term care, auto, homeowners, renters, etc.)

For those who are senior citizens or who have elderly parents:

Contact a local senior resource center and ask if they assist in disaster and emergency planning. Enroll your loved one in their program and ensure that they have a list of emergency contacts for your loved one. Talk to your loved one’s neighbors and find a few who can assist in checking in on your loved one if a disaster or emergency situation occurs. Talk to friends who live nearby who may be able to check on your loved one, if needed. Make sure that you keep their contact information current, as well as yours. Discuss possible check-in points with your loved one. Add to the above contact list names, numbers and email addresses of friends who live in other towns who could not only be an evacuation location, but also a person to contact when local resident resources are affected. Put this information on an easy-to-read list, and ensure that your loved one has a copy in an easy-to-reach place in the event of a disaster. Laminating the copy ensures that it isn’t damaged in inclement weather.

After the disaster: know that local emergency resources are going to be focused on rescue and securing the safety of community residents during and after a disaster or emergency situation occurs. Having in place a “back up wellness check” system (neighbors, senior center, friends who live nearby and in nearby towns) will keep you and your loved one from depending solely on first responders who may be dealing with crisis situations.

While this should be just a small part of your preparedness plan, it is a good start to ensure that you and your loved ones have a plan in place to prepare for disasters and to aid in a smooth recovery after the event.

If anyone would be interested in the Blue Jean Lawyer and her crew coming out and giving a free on-site hurricane preparedness seminar for them, just give us a shout through email or (228)224-6781. Thanks y’all & stay safe out there!