Tips to help you be prepared for natural disasters

Dear Heloise: Here in North Carolina and all along the southern coast of America, we experience hurricanes nearly every year. People need to be prepared and equipped before the storm hits to ensure that they survive with the least amount of trauma and property loss.

The first thing that we all need is an evacuation plan. If plan A is not viable, then have a plan B. Make a list of all the items that you will need, then have all or most of it available in one spot, such as a closet, so you can leave in a hurry.

Make a plan not only for yourself and your family; make sure to have one for your pets. Never leave your pets behind. Many shelters now accept animals.

In addition, have the following:

— Copies of all important documents. The originals should be stored in a plastic bag inside of a water-tight container or in a bank.

— Emergency contact information, along with all phone numbers of family and friends.

— Bottled water.

— Batteries and flashlights.

— Nonperishable food.

— A change of clothes for each family member.

— A first aid kit.

— All of your medications and prescriptions.

— Maps. (Paper maps are good to have.)

— Cash.

— Pet supplies. (A number of shelters will accept four pets per person.)

When you bring your pet, you will need proof of residency, current vaccination records, and a dog license if necessary. Some require that you also bring pet food. Make sure your pet has a collar.

If you are evacuating the area, before you leave your home, make sure that you have locked all of the doors and turned off all utilities. If you have hurricane shutters, make sure that they are in place.

If you have been told to evacuate from a place due to the danger of staying, leave ASAP. If you decide to stay in place instead, you might be left without drinkable water, gas and electric services.

There will probably be no emergency services, and rescue teams may not be able to help you. You will still need all the supplies listed here. — Harold M., Greenville, North Carolina


Dear Heloise: I used to place my three pots on top of each other and keep the lids separated, but I found a better way to keep the pots and lids together. Place a lid upside down on the large pot, then do the same with the middle pot and the smallest pot. This is much easier and definitely more organized.

P.S. I read your tips every day in The Villages Daily Sun. Thank you for all of your tips. — Helen T., An Avid Reader


Dear Heloise: Today on my way home from shopping, a school bus was coming in my direction on the opposite side of the road. When the bus stopped, I stopped. I always do because it’s the law, and I don’t know in which direction a child might run.

However, not everyone stopped. Some people drove around the school bus, and others honked at me for stopping.

Please remind your readers to obey the law and save a child’s life by stopping when they see a school bus. — Sharon K., Flint, Michigan


Dear Heloise: One of your readers asked about removing an ink stain. The answer is hairspray! Spray on the stain prior to washing and watch the ink disappear. My mother also used hairspray to freshen up dried-flower arrangements.

And for blood stains, try hydrogen peroxide, which comes in a convenient spray bottle. Cold water is generally the best for stain removal. Also, when of your favorites, baking soda, is added to wash cycles, it helps immensely to freshen and clean laundry.

As vacation-rental owners, we pride ourselves on clean linens and towels, which takes a variety of stain-removal techniques. Good luck. — Deb G., Bozeman, Montana


Dear Heloise: Please advise your readers to contact their states’ Native Plant Society to learn about the local ground cover plants and shrubs that can be used to replace lawn grass. In California, our California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is very active in educating residents about native California plants and our coastal sage scrub.

We have a real problem with invasive plants that try to take over our native plants. Every yard can offer a suitable living space for wildlife and protect our environment.

For information on plants that are suitable for your location in California, go to www.Calscape.org and follow the instructions. — Nancy Harris, Huntington Beach, California


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