Hurricane Dorian has left the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands in despair after its landfall; and it’s unfortunately not something that we have not seen over the past few years. Katrina, Sandy, Ike, Wilma… all names that may trigger memories of destructive damage and post traumatic flashbacks. While these are all acts of nature, and our science doesn’t grant the ability to shift paths or change outcomes, we do have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the possibility of being faced with this unimaginable situation in the future.
Which brings us to the not-so-pleasant discussion of today, hurricane preparedness.
It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Hurricanes change their route of destruction, level of strength, and expected timing more than a public restroom changes its toilet paper. While being ready for the landfall of a category 5 hurricane isn’t possible, we can take some things in to consideration to help brace your home, valued possessions, and loved ones if you are ever in its path.
According to the National Weather Service, there are a few things that you can do even BEFORE hurricane season begins:
- KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. It may sound simple, but if you’ve recently moved out of state or across a state, you may be in a hurricane evacuation area. If you’re anywhere near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts, you should contact your local government or emergency management office to find out more.
- PUT TOGETHER AN EMERGENCY KIT. Don’t wait until the storm is encroaching on the coast to fight for water at your local stores, be prepared ahead of time. Here is a list of what you should always have on hand (when expiration dates near, use up and re-stock!):
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days – for drinking and sanitation; also remember to stock enough water for any furry members of your family)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person in the household, formula or baby food for any children in the home, and don’t forget about stocking up on extra animal food for any pets you may have)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Battery-powered flashlight
- Additional stock of batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, as well as plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and backup battery
- FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN. Before an emergency ever happens, it’s important to sit down with your family and/or close friends to decide how you’ll get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. It would be wise to keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit.
- REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES. Review policies to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
- UNDERSTAND NWS FORECAST PRODUCTS. It’s important to understand the forecasts given by NWS, especially watches and warnings
Like we said, you’ll never be fully prepared if you are faced with this situation; but we hope that spreading the word will help to ease your mind and have a plan in order. You can find all you need to know and more by visiting: http://weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan
To all of those affected – we are praying for you during this time of recovery. To all our friends down south – stay safe.