News of Hurricane Irene battering the East Coast makes all of us wonder, what would we do? Are we prepared for a massive storm or emergency situation that would close down roads and stores and make us stay home for an extended time period?
While the threat of a hurricane doesn’t concern Arizona residents, Phoenix area residents know all too well the seriousness of summer monsoons and the flooding that occurs in the desert region during a heavy rain.
According to the Arizona Emergency Information Network, the following items should be in a basic disaster supplies kit. Individuals should review the list regularly and consider unique family needs and the climate in which they live when building a kit. Make sure you have:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Three-day supply of water: one gallon of water per person, per day.
- Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First Aid kit and manual.
- Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
- Matches and waterproof container.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Kitchen accessories including a manual can opener.
- Credit cards and identification cards.
- Cash and coins.
- Important papers, such as insurance paperwork.
- Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
- Items and equipment for senior citizens and the disabled.
- Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
- Enough food and water for pets.
In the middle of a storm, it is advised to stay in and avoid driving. If you are already out, or must drive, turn on headlights and slow down. If you pull off the road, move as far right as possible. Turn off the car and headlights, and set the parking brake. Remove your foot from the brake, or other drivers may think you’re a car in motion.
Water on roads may be deeper than it looks. Watch for vehicles traveling too fast; they can throw blinding sheets of water. Don’t cross rain-swollen washes. You could be caught in a flash flood that can sweep your vehicle and its contents away. Control of a vehicle is lost in 6 inches of water. Most vehicles begin to float in 2 feet of water. Arizona has a “Stupid Motorist Law” that provides for recovery of the costs associated with rescuing a driver who avoids a roadblock and gets stuck in a flooded street.
For information on emergency situations and preparedness, go to http://www.azein.gov/azein/default.aspx.