This is New York State Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The Albany National Weather Service branch joins other NWS offices across the state to raise awareness of flooding, severe thunderstorms, and even tornadoes that are possible during spring and summer. Part of this preparedness is having an emergency kit for you and your family in case of a weather event. Odds you have water, a first-aid kit, canned goods and most other necessities, but do you have the most overlooked survival gear recommended by the National Weather Service?
Manual can opener
Speaking of canned goods, make sure you have a way to open them. Don’t count on using your kitchen one in case you can't get to it after a storm; have a dedicated opener in your kit. A pocketknife with a can opener attachment in is a great option, but make sure you know how to use it. They can be tricky to get the hang of at first!
Wrench or pliers
It may not have factored into your emergency plans that you'll possibly need a way to turn off your utilities in the wake of a storm or natural disaster. A wrench or pliers will be your best friend if you need to shut off water, gas, etc.
NOTE: Be careful when turning off utilities! Don’t risk your safety. If you smell gas in the aftermath of severe weather, get you and your family away from the area and notify emergency crews.
This one’s a little gross, but you’ll be so glad you have them if you need them. A loss of water during an emergency won't keep nature's call on hold. You can’t just leave your *ahem* droppings and T.P. laying around. Pick up some baggies (yes, like you would have for a dog) at a pet store to tie off and dispose of your disposal the nicer way. If plastic waste is a concern, there are many biodegradable options.
Pen and paper
If you’re guilty of typing everything in your Notes app these days, put a little notebook and a few cheap pens in your preparedness kit. If you need a place to store reminders and information, you’ll always have it, battery or not.
Travel deodorant and dry shampoo
You probably have soap at the ready, but if there’s limited water available after a severe weather strike it’s nice to have some backups to keep stank at bay and feel a little more comfortable in a time that you’ll appreciate it most.
This might be THE most overlooked piece of any preparedness kit. If you’re trapped under rubble and debris or out of sight, a whistle is the easiest way to loudly make your presence known to rescue crews. Put it on a lanyard to make sure the two of you don’t get separated. If it got Rose saved in Titanic, it can work for you.
Battery powered radio
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If cell signal goes out, streaming is not an option. Local authorities will use this station to communicate info and instructions in case of a severe weather emergency. Crank and solar powered radios are great options, but make sure they also take batteries, just in case.
Extra pet food
It’s not for you (hopefully), but sadly it’s something that gets overlooked by a lot of pet owners putting together their essentials. Set aside a few extra cans of wet food or fill some airtight containers with dry food to make sure your furry family members have enough to eat for a few days.
You're undoubtedly more familiar with KN95 and cloth masks than you'd like to be at this point, but they're also handy in an active emergency. There could be a lot of dust, smoke, and other particles in the air after severe weather strikes that you don’t want you or your family breathing.
If the power’s out, you can’t tap to pay. Keep some bills in your bag unless you really feel confident in your barter skills. (What is the USD:Chicken exchange rate, anyway?)