GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico - With families and communities still recovering from Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, anticipating the next hurricane season could bring more stress.
Planning ahead can help survivors feel better prepared. Having what we need to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and homes reduces the amount of stress in the emergency.
Get your family prepared in three key steps:
Build a Kit
Families and individuals need to consider their specific needs to ensure they have the right supplies to manage by themselves during the first 10 days following a disaster.
- Store a gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. In case your water supply runs out, pre-identify safe sources of water, use water filters or boil water if you are unsure about its cleanliness. Have disposable cups available and remember to clean the water containers after using them.
- Gather a 10-day supply of non-perishable foods for each person in the household. Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular attention as will babies, toddlers and the elderly. Nursing mothers may need liquid formula. Part of the grocery shopping for the 10 days of supplies should include cleaning products for our homes as well as ourselves.
- Canned dietetic foods, juices and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people.
- Have enough hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, hygienic products, diapers and wipes available for children and older adults.
- Make sure to have food and water for your pet. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with updated identification tags with the pet’s name, owner’s name, address and phone number.
- Have at hand a favorite toy, stuffed animal, books and coloring book and crayons for the younger members of the family.
Make a Family Communications Plan
As roads may be impassable and cell phone service may be disrupted, identify alternate ways of staying in touch with loved ones.
- Choose an out of town friend or relative as a point of contact.
- Decide on a meeting place in case you cannot return home.
- Keep important documents and phone numbers with you at all times.
- Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations and make sure they have emergency contacts memorized or saved in a secure place.
- Identify the closest shelter in case you are ordered to leave your home, and let your family know its location.
Listen for the most up-to-date information before, during and after a disaster.
- Local media will provide evacuation orders, details about evacuation routes and shelter locations.
- Make sure your battery-powered radio is working and you have extra batteries.
- Download the FEMA App at fema.gov/mobile-app to receive severe weather alerts, safety tips and much more. Stay updated with weather-related alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service.
This is the time to inform ourselves and prepare to act. When we have everything that we need we are ready, and that helps us maintain our well-being. If you or someone in your family is experiencing issues with disaster-related stress, call Línea PAS at 800-981-0023, TTY 888-672-7622.
For more information on hurricane season preparedness and Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.
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Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.