First 60 Minutes

Imagine sitting at home one evening when you notice the sky turning an ominous color green and the next thing you know it’s pouring down rain, while devastating winds are ripping apart your home. Well, this is exactly what happened to Mary Branstetter and her husband, who live in Nowata County, Oklahoma.

According to Mary, as the storm approached their home she and her husband ran down to their basement and turned on the TV for the latest news report.

Mary watched as the weather report said, “Road 406, road 25 is going to take a direct hit,” which is right where Mary lives. As the storm moved toward the couple, they took cover as softball sized hail battered their property and winds destroyed nearby outbuildings.

After the storm, Mary told local media, “I just can’t believe it’s gone, after all these years,” referring to the buildings on their property. In addition, Mary stated, “We had benches that left the inside of the barn and went out through the door, I don’t know how they didn’t take out a vehicle.”

The fact is, this couple is lucky they took cover in their basement and survived the storm. With very little notice of the impending storm they were unable to prepare and simply had to act quickly to save their lives.

Since we know that time is of the essence during an emergency (we’ve seen it recently with the California wildfires), I want to share with you a few different tasks you want to consider when time is running out.

Gather intel.

As a dangerous storm approaches your home, the first thing you need to do is gather as much information as possible regarding the weather. Like the story above, you should listen to your local forecast so you can know how close the storm will get to your home.

Also, don’t forget to have a battery-operated radio as well so that you can listen to multiple sources of information. In addition, make sure your radio is programmed with your local NOAA weather station, which will provide some of the most accurate weather for your area.

While I personally don’t think social media is the best source of information, there is no question you could learn details from what other people are posting online.

Set up communication.

Prior to a disaster, you want to check with all your family members to make sure they are in a safe place. Hopefully, you will still be able to use your cell phone to call or text with loved ones but you need to remember that cell phones may not work if towers are damaged.

If you are able to talk with others, tell them how you plan to communicate with them during and after a disaster. I recommend using a radio such as the Baofeng UV-5R, which is the one I personally use.

When you talk with your family make sure everyone knows what frequency you will be on and have a back up frequency planned in case it’s needed.

Locate missing family/friends.

The primary goal before a disaster strikes is to have your entire family together and safe before things get worse. Of course, if you are able to get a hold of someone you need to let them know where you are.

For instance, if you get home from work, and you can’t get a hold of your spouse, and you are leaving the house, then you need to leave a note on the door that says, the date, time, and where you are going.

Basically, you need to communicate even when you can’t use the phone or a radio. Also, have locations that you will meet your family in the event of a disaster. For instance, if your home gets destroyed, where is your Plan B meeting location.

Set up gear/security.

As disaster approaches, the time to do a ton of preparation has passed, and you need to act. With that being said, I would start filling your bathtubs and sinks with water since you may be without it for a while.

Plus, you need to make sure you know where the main shutoffs are for the power, gas, and water and that you have the proper tools ready to turn them off. Obviously, you will want to make sure all your survival gear is easily accessible and ready to go, as you will no doubt need it.

I like to use bug out bags and also larger bins. (I will put the larger bins in my car. If I have to bug out on foot, then I’m only taking my bug out bag.)

If you are home with multiple family members, this is also the time where you want to review your home defense plan in the event looters show up. You will want to review your security measures and make sure there is someone on watch 24/7.

In other words, you don’t want to get caught off guard by a group of thieves trying to kick in your front door.

There is no doubt that the actions you take during the precious minutes before and after a disaster can dictate who survives. For this reason, consider taking the actions I’ve outlined above as they can help prepare you for the long haul needed to survive.

As I stated previously, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed and it’s time to act.

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