Story by Lorena Canales, American Red Cross Contributor

Hurricane season may not officially start until June 1st, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing now. Pre-season storms are not rare and are only likely to become more common. Just this past weekend in southeast Texas two storm systems came through bringing hail and damaging winds. A tornado warning even took effect Sunday afternoon in Montgomery County.

While we cannot predict exactly where a tornado will strike or what specific neighborhoods may flood or lose power, we can prepare for a possible disaster ahead of time. There is no need to gamble with your or your loved ones’ safety.

Here are a few simple ways you can prepare for springtime storms.

  1. Closely monitor weather conditions. Spring may mean outdoor sports or festivals. Most news networks now offer weather apps that help you track local weather conditions and stay ahead of disaster with severe weather notifications. The Red Cross also offers an emergency alert app in the Apple and Google Play store.
  2. Keep your home stocked with water, non-perishable foods, and important medicines. These essentials will help if you are trapped inside your home due to severe weather or its effects (e.g. flooding, blocked roads).
  3. Prepare a first aid kit AND a survival kit. A first aid kit will help you treat basic injuries. A survival kit will help you if you are stranded and/or without power.

If you have small children, you may also want to think ahead of time about how to soothe, entertain, and distract them so that they do not become stressed during a disaster.

  1. Know where they keep their comfort stuffed animals or blankets.
  2. Have activities for them that do not require electricity. Coloring books, board games, and playing cards are all great options.
  3. Download the Monster Guard app! It is the first mobile app created by the American Red Cross that’s designed specifically for kids. Follow Maya, Chad, Olivia and all the monsters as they teach kids (aged 7-11) about how to prepare for real-life emergencies in a fun and engaging game.

Download Red Cross Apps

The Red Cross offers several mobile apps that are designed to empower users to know what to do the event of an emergency.