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Wallace family stays prepared for hurricane season


May 26, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.

Siblings Nic, 16, Jacob, 14, Zachary, 10, and Tiva Wallace, 9 with their 72-hour packs on. "Whatever you can fit in the pack," said mother Marci Wallace, "is what you can take with you."

Siblings Nic, 16, Jacob, 14, Zachary, 10, and Tiva Wallace, 9 with their 72-hour packs on. "Whatever you can fit in the pack," said mother Marci Wallace, "is what you can take with you."

Marci Wallace and family moved from Seattle, Wash., to Victoria in 1997.

"We didn't know anything about hurricanes," she said. "But we've really gotten to be prepared."

In fact, some might call her family among the most prepared families for hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov 30.

Wallace said emergency preparedness is something her church emphasizes and it became even more important when she moved to the Texas Coast with its threat of hurricanes each year.

"I always joke with my husband that all we need is a cow and a chicken, and we could live in our house for however long," she said.

While Jeb Lacey, the county emergency management coordinator, may not know Wallace, he's been preaching for years that people should always be prepared.

"Preparedness is important regardless of hurricane season," he said. "Being prepared for all hazards, making sure that your family and your business and your home are prepared for any impending emergency, is imperative."

The better people prepare, the better they recover from a disaster, he said.

Wallace, 41, said they have even prepared "72-hour kits" for each member of the family. They also have designated backpacks that have everyone's names on them.

The 72-hour packs have a little of everything. The packs for the 9 and 10 year olds, for instance, have things to keep them occupied if they have to leave: notepads, pens, pencils and decks of cards.

They also have toothbrushes, toothpaste, rolls of toilette paper, batteries, flashlights, rain coats and food.

"We actually practice that at home before hurricane season comes," Wallace said. "It's usually in the middle of the night on the weekend."

The goal is to be packed and ready in 15 minutes and Wallace said they usually complete things within 10 minutes.

"We've also got items at home so if we need to stay, we can stay," she said. "We've got probably about three to six months worth of food stored in our home."

They also have five-gallon jugs of water that stay filled during hurricane season. While Wallace said it's probably not enough, she thinks they could handle things long enough to find water elsewhere.

The family also has designated inner rooms of the house as safe rooms in case they get weather alarms or start hearing sounds that make they them think they could be in danger.

"Last year, our big purchase was an emergency generator," she said. "We did not have one during Hurricane Claudette and we had no power for five days."

The one thing the Wallace family doesn't have is much plywood for window covers. She said they instead have storm windows and are prepared to cover the glass windows in doors with wood.

The family even replaced its garage doors with those that have no windows.

Lacey said it's not too late now to prepare for hurricane season or any other catastrophe.

"The big thing is, we want people being prepared year round," he said. "We have enough concerns in the Crossroads regions to validate our efforts to stay prepared."



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