As millions of East Coast residents have been watching Hurricane Florence, it’s easy to overcome with a sense of panic.
But you don’t have to turn your life into a disaster zone just because it’s chaos outside! Here are some tips to keep your sanity:
1. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
Sometimes seemingly helpful social media threads on hurricane prep can digress into a huge echo chamber. It’s usually the most alarmist friends who contribute to these conversations, too!
While it’s good to know what’s going on and what your friends are doing, if you want to stay sane during the storm, talk to your level-headed friends.
2. Don’t believe everything you see on TV.
Hurricanes, tornados, and other natural disasters are a ratings bonanza! Local meteorologists live for these kinds of stories- you can feel pretty hardcore shooting a standup with the wind whipping up your hair. And who doesn’t love the feel-good human interest stories of local heroes rescuing a family of puppies from harm’s way?
There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the news, or this type of educational entertainment. Just be sure you watch with a discerning eye.
It’s called the news industry for a reason. Networks maximize profits by getting as many viewers as possible. They need really compelling stories that people want to watch, so they might give a sensationalized view of what’s really going on.
That being said,
3. If you get evacuation orders, follow them!
Make sure you know your know your hurricane zone, so you’re able to get out of town if and when you need to!
Don’t be “that guy” who thinks they’re smarter than everyone else and decides to stay home when everyone else leaves. Houses and possessions are replaceable, but you are not. If a huge, devastating flood comes, there’s nothing you can do to keep your house safer by staying. But you can protect yourself by following instructions for your specific hurricane evacuation zone.
If the weather forecasters and government officials are wrong, what’s the worst that happens? You’re inconvenienced? You lose time spent in traffic while trying to get out of town? You’d feel ridiculous having made a huge effort for nothing?
But if they’re right- and the devastating hurricane wreaks havoc, you’ll be so glad you followed their instructions.
4. Have a calm, rational plan.
If you start to freak out, your children will follow suit. That’s definitely not the best state of mind- especially since you might have to spend days confined in your house, a shelter, or hotel while the storm passes.
So come up with a simple hurricane plan. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want
to. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Fill up your car with gas.
- Make sure you have a well-equipped hurricane survival kit with fresh water, food, flashlights, batteries, and other essentials.
- Locate games and other things to do so you can have great activities that don’t require Internet or electricity.
- Find any favorite toys or blankies so your child has extra comfort when the storm hits.
- Brainstorm and (possibly go to) places you might want to evacuate BEFORE the storm hits.
- Contact friends and relatives you might need to stay with.
5. Get to know your neighbors
Assuming you’re not in a mandatory evacuation zone, there’s no time like a natural disaster to get to know the people around you.
We were supposed to host a neighborhood get-together the last time a big hurricane hit, and instead of postponing everything, we kept the party going as planned. While several neighbors still couldn’t get to our house due to fallen power lines and trees, those of us who could come had a great time! It was so nice to have a reason to get out of the house in the midst of the chaos.
So even if you don’t have a fridge full of drinks and snacks, find a neighbor who is able to fire up the charcoal grill and start cooking!
6. Let your kids get on the action– and take their own photos and videos after the hurricane.
Tired of watching stale or over-dramatized weather reports? Have your kids create their own!
(ONLY AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED) Use your smartphones, and go around your neighborhood letting them take videos and provide commentary of what they see. You can send them to your family and friends on FamilyApp, so they can get in on the action, too!
Even if your devices fail and you can’t make actual videos, just walk around the neighborhood using a makeshift microphone and have your kids make up their own weather report. You might feel really cheesy, but it’ll get you out of the house for a while!
Whether you’re checking the weather or need disaster relief after the storm, there’s lots of good hurricane information to keep you up-to-date:
Ready or not . . .
There’s nothing any of us can do to control this hurricane, but we can control how we’re going to respond when disaster hits. You WILL get through this challenging storm, one way or another. Lean on friends and family for support, and when it’s over, you’ll have some pretty unforgettable memories. If you get a power outage after the hurricane enjoy the quality time with your family.