During this time of year, we have the opportunity to enjoy the cooler temperatures outdoors, cooking out, watching football games and parades. With the pleasant weather conditions, we also have to prepare for the brutal hurricane season.
Just last week the state of Texas experienced Hurricane Harvey, one of the most wicked storms of all time. As of yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency with the Category 5 Hurricane Irma racing towards South Florida. Hurricane Irma is expected to pack winds up to 180 mph.
These storms can be devastating on states, communities and families, but the prudent thing to do is to always think ahead and be smart. To help you prepare before the storm, the National Red Cross offers valuable tips to help keep you safe.
BE READY - Nothing pays bigger dividends than being prepared in advance. One of the best things you can do when preparing for a storm is to assemble an Emergency Hurricane Kit. You can put anything you choose in your kit, but definitely include water, food, flashlight, cell phone, medications, maps, tools, duct tape, surgical masks, radio, whistle, batteries, important documents and insurance papers. It is crucial to buy your materials beforehand to ensure you get everything you may need.
PREPARE FAMILY - Always communicate with your family ahead of time about hurricanes. It is a good idea to discuss evacuation plans and routes. If possible, keep a radio nearby and tune into the weather channel
PREPARE TO EVACUATE - According to Accuweather.com, Rick Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center, urges people to find out if they are in an area that must be evacuated. He said the reason people have to evacuate during hurricanes is the storm surge which is an abnormal rise of water that can reach heights of 20 feet and span hundreds of miles. Dan Kottlowski, an Accuweather hurricane expert, points out that some people take the initiative to review their evacuation route during good weather while others wait until the day of the hurricane which creates an unusual amount of anxiety. It makes sense to test the route in advance.
After the storm is over:
- Continue to stay abreast of weather conditions, local news and updates.
- Take time to contact friends and family and let them know that you are safe. If possible, log onto safe and well sites and register yourself as being safe.
- If evacuated, return only when conditions are safe.
- Stay alert to subsequent flooding and additional flooding.
These are stressful times, so take time to care of yourself and family. Pay special attention to your loved ones and their emotional needs. Young children, disabled and elderly citizens may need extra assistance. If your home has been damaged, be patient, and always talk with professionals.