What do you mean we’re moving to the coast? I don’t know the first thing about hurricane prep! If there are a few universal truths about military life, these are them: a) There are bases in every region and climate of the world, and b) The military will send you out of your comfort zone as much as they possibly can. If you’re a landlocked spouse currently freaking out about hurricanes or you’re wondering what the hell NEO stands for, we’re going to run through the essentials of disaster prep so you’re ready for anything, anywhere the military sends you.
No matter where you are, you exercise some basic common sense to prepare for unthinkable situations, like prepare before disaster strikes. If you wait until a hurricane is making landfall to buy plywood for your windows, you’re behind. As soon as you get orders, learn all you can about this new place — this includes getting the rundown on necessary disaster prep.
Not sure where to start? Roger that — Daily Mom Military has a quick guide for several natural disasters. Read up on disaster prep specific to hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, the Ring of Fire (which also has sound advice for any area subject to earthquakes or volcanoes), and youth preparedness for earthquakes. You can also visit Ready.gov for more topics and resources, and between Ready.gov and the American Red Cross, you can get yourself a disaster kit stocked and have a plan of action in the event disaster does strike.
Learning the Ropes of Disaster Prep at a New Duty Station
Plug into local resources as soon as you can. Look for advice from your command about preparations and weather alerts. Your duty station may have a weather alert system or levels of preparedness. Be sure to sign up for any text message alerts, and add your contact information to your command’s distribution list or phone tree.
If you’re OCONUS and in a region where Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) are a possibility, get that paperwork done and go-bag packed. It’s morbid to think about, and that stack of confusing paperwork is intimidating, but the sooner you complete it all and hide it away in a safe place, the sooner you can stop worrying about it.
Don’t Go it Alone
Disaster prep is scary stuff for kids and grownups (yeah, we’ll admit it). Take time to prepare your kids, too. Make sure they know what to do at home, at school, wherever. Talk about it and practice it.
It’s also not a bad idea — even with the existence of a unit phone tree — to have a disaster buddy. You check on them, they check on you, and you can swap crazy stories once it’s all over. There’s safety in numbers, right?
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