LUBBOCK, Texas — An evacuation plan, and access to emergency supplies are crucial parts of disaster planning, Lubbock officials said as part of National Preparedness month which is September.
The Lubbock office of National Weather Service said tornadoes, flooding and drought are the most likely sources of local disasters.
Jody James, NWS Meteorologist and Warning Coordinator, said people might think of food or batteries in an emergency but overlook a plan to stay in contact with family members.
“What we see a lot of times is people have never thought of that,” James said. “We’re asking them to prepare for a very low probability but high impact event.”
“We call those Black Swan events — things that will never happen, but yet they do,” said Brad Larson with the South Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross.
One example might be a power outage related to a big storm.
“Think about if you lost electricity,” James said. “What would we have? What would we not have?”
“How could we get by as long as we could?” James asked rhetorically. “Just think about those things.”
Power outages would mean no refrigeration to keep perishable food. But it would also mean an interruption of the water and sewer systems. Larson said each person needs three gallons of water per day.
Larson and James listed off some things to think of. Larson called it items for your “go bag.”
- Crank radio
- Communication plan
- Cell phone
- Power bank to recharge cell phone
- Pet food, pet carrier, pet supplies
- Non-perishable foods
- Can opener
- First aid kit
- Copies of ID’s
- Change of clothing
- Games or other forms of entertainment
Their list was not meant to be all-inclusive but a place to start planning and thinking.
“Having identification is very, very important,” Larson said. “A birth certificate, copies of your insurance policy … Throw copies of that in a ‘go bag’ someplace because if you’re in a disaster and you have to go someplace to ask for help, a lot of those places will ask proof that you live there.”
What does he mean by “go bag?”
“It’s really just a collection of some of those things you would need that you don’t really necessarily have time to gather up in the case of a disaster,” James said.
Larson also said having a plan to get back to normal after the disaster is a good idea.
“Have a plan. What’s everybody in the family going to do?” Larson said.
Use the video link above to more insights into National Preparedness Month.