Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness

If you aren't already aware, June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season.  We're not even at the end of May and we've already had two named storm systems out there!  The second one caused me to perk up.  Beryl was its name.  It was when I saw maps like this one below that I moved into hurricane gear pretty quickly, constantly monitoring its progress.

You see, we live in Charleston, South Carolina.  See it on the map??
{This image was from May 25th}

What actually happened looked more like this.
{This image was from May 28th}

Tropical storms and hurricanes are a tricky business.  There are often several days of advance notice.  It's during this time that we begin to watch and wait.  If we're lucky, the named storm is affecting some other part of the country, unfortunately for them.  If we're not so lucky, we could be looking at something resembling the second image, but a little further to the north.

In the almost 4 years that we have lived in Charleston, we have not been affected by a hurricane.  My Houston area friends and family will remember Hurricane Ike well.  It struck Galveston, TX on September 13, 2008.  Galveston sits on the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles south of Houston.  We moved to Charleston from Houston on August 13, 2008.  Our house in Houston remained unsold at the time of Ike.  While we had damages to figure out how to repair from across the country, we were not present in the home.

We've always been cautious during hurricane season, but more so since having children.  Particularly so since having Peyton.  We are not the "ride it out" kind of people, especially after Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans in August 2005 {we were in Houston}.  When Hurricane Rita began making tracks towards the Gulf Coast a few weeks later in September, you better believe we were loading up the car and getting the heck out of town!  Perhaps some of you remember being in or seeing news footage of the absolutely nightmare that was the evacuation of Houston.  We left early enough in the process that it took us about 30 minutes longer than normal to get from Houston to Austin.  We have friends who lived about 15 minutes from our place and it took them hours to get just from their house to near our subdivision when they attempted to leave via the same route!

All of this is to say - we have Peyton.  We can't afford to be caught in a dangerous evacuation situation or a dangerous "we're caught in our home because we chose not to evacuate" kind of situation.  I wrote a post last year when there was a storm brewing.  I encourage you to check that post out because I posted a lot of pics of Peyton's room and all her equipment!  You can read that post HERE.  She has too much equipment which requires electricity for us to dare risk staying home.  We have to be diligent when it comes to hurricane preparedness and having an evacuation plan in place!  Her life depends on it.

So when Beryl was trying to figure out where to go over the past few days, I dug out the old "hurricane box".  It is a box that I prepared last year before hurricane season.  It is specifically for Peyton and it is filled with essential items which would just take too long to organize and pack in a last minute situation.  It is filled with a one week supply of absolutely essential medical supplies.

View from the top.  This barely scratches the surface of what's inside this box!

As I said, there's a week's worth of supplies.  These are but a few of the items I pulled out of the box to take these pictures to show here.

Peyton requires a large assortment of medical supplies.  I have zip loc baggies which are organized into toiletries, "vitals" (i.e. thermometer, stethoscope), and so on.  Then there's the pre-packaged medical supplies like nebulizer chambers, suction canister tubing, rubbing alcohol pads, feeding bag sets, syringes of all sizes {with and without attached needle}...

...diapers, wipes, suction equipment, and so on.  There is way more in the box than what is pictured here.

Then there's "the list".

Essential to this evacuation box is the list.  The list tells me exactly what items and how many of each are in the box.  The second page of the list tells me what is not in the box.  That is, the items which I cannot pack in advance because they are in use: hearing aids, glasses, clothing, and most importantly all of her medications, her feeding pump, oxygen concentrator, case of pediasure, her wheelchair, her suction unit, her nebulizer, and so on.  I went through the box and updated the contents where necessary.  Now I need to update that second page to make sure things haven't changed since last hurricane season.  The idea is that if we have to evacuate, we pull up the list and go through that second page item by item and pack it - and when we reach our destination, we will have everything we need.

If there is a tropical storm on the horizon and it's heading towards Charletson, SC, you can be sure that this family is going to be keeping a very watchful eye on it.  We will evacuate at the first sign that it may become necessary.  In fact, our hope it to get out before an order is issued because we cannot risk getting stuck in traffic with Peyton.  A new storm surge map was issued for our area {Daniel Island} and it is not a very favorable location if this area were to take a direct hit from a tropical storm, much less a hurricane!

Did I mention that I live 19 feet above sea level??

How about you?  Are you in a hurricane zone?
Are you prepared?

Praying for a safe hurricane season for all people living in zones that could potentially become targets for such a natural disaster.  Praying we all remain safe and that we are smart about what we do should we find ourselves in the path of danger this season.


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