Recently Shreveport’s news has been centered on Irene and the east coast. Coastal cities prepared for the worst and were ready when it mattered most. Shreveporters have had to deal with severe weather before and will have to again. Now is a good time to evaluate your family’s readiness for an emergency such as a fire, a tornado, severe storms and flooding. Then there is the occasional ‘ice storm’ that often topples limbs onto power lines!
With the Shreveport and Bossier City areas being in a severe drought situation the propensity for fire increases. Make sure you heed the fire warnings in your area, do not burn when a ban is in place! But a fire can happen despite your best efforts to prevent one and someone else can start a fire that can affect your home and family.
Every family should have an emergency plan. A plan of escape in case of a fire or having to evacuate your home for any reason! Now is a good time to change the batteries on smoke detectors and if you don’t have any already, it’s a great time to purchase some.
Fire extinguishers and fire safety ladders (for two or more story homes) are added safety. Everyone should know how to operate the fire extinguishers and how to use the safety ladders. Fire extinguishers come in various styles for various types of fires. An evacuation route should be planned based on scenarios of where a fire might occur and the fastest route out of your home in each instance. A once monthly practice will help your family act instantaneously in the event of a real emergency. An unscheduled, middle of the night fire drill can really test your family’s readiness. Educate yourself on fire safety and educate your family as well. Arrange in advance where all family members will meet.
You would do well to have on ‘ready’ a duffle bag with three days worth of food and water for each family member, flashlights, extra batteries, and a hand crank or battery operated radio in case of power failure. You should have some cash ‘on hand’ and a fire safe box for identification, health cards, and other valuables.
If you are inside when a severe storm is coming, you should move your family to a central lower story interior room. Stay away from windows. Do not venture outside until the storm has passed.
If you lose power and do not have a generator, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. If you are warned in advance of an approaching storm you can freeze bags of water and store them in your freezer. This will help keep the food in the refrigerator cold when the power is lost. If you have a generator, do NOT run it indoors! Be careful with candles or oil lamps. Make sure these, if used, are located out of the reach of children and on hard surfaces away from any loose material such as curtains.
If you prepare for the worst, then you will be ready for whatever life throws at you and you will be better able to ‘weather the storm.’