Since recent news has been filled with warnings about Hurricane Isaac, it’s a good time to evaluate how prepared you are in the event of a major storm threat like we experienced on Long Island last year with Hurricane Irene.
In the United States, hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs until November 30th each year. It is important to have a thorough storm emergency plan in place if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. It is also imperative that you know your local evacuation routes prior to the issuing of a “Hurricane Watch” or a “Hurricane Warning.” Radio and television networks will keep you updated with the latest information for your area. There are different meanings to the terms “Hurricane Watch” and “Hurricane Warning.” If a “Hurricane Watch” is issued for your area, weather conditions are favorable to produce a hurricane within 36 hours. When a “Hurricane Watch” has been announced preparations that require extra time, such as securing a boat or evacuating an island, should be initiated. A “Hurricane Warning” is a more serious notification. If a “Hurricane Warning” has been issued, sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours. You should now be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding where you will be safest during the storm.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, do not plan on riding the storm out at home.
Other Items to Consider Before a Hurricane
- Purchase materials to board up windows.
- Store any outdoor objects that could blow away.
- Find a safe place for your pet. Your veterinarian or local humane society can provide you with information on preparing your pets for an emergency.
- Stock up on supplies and prepare a survival kit for your home and car. Items to include are: a first-aid kit; canned food and bottled water, enough for at least 3 to 7 days per person; toiletries; blankets and pillows; a battery-operated radio and flashlight; some protective clothing and any special items for infants or elderly.
- Store important documents in waterproof containers or bags.
- Withdraw some cash. Banks and businesses can be closed for a period of time following a hurricane.
- Fill up your car’s fuel tank.
Be Safe As the Hurricane Approaches
- It is safer to stay indoors and away from windows, as strong winds will blow items around.
- If you live in a mobile home, seek temporary refuge in a shelter.
- If your home is in a flood prone or low-lying area, move to higher ground or go to a shelter.
- If a mandatory evacuation has been issued, leave immediately.
After The Hurricane
- Exercise caution when checking for injured or trapped people.
- Beware of flooding which is typical after a hurricane, and do not attempt to drive into floodwaters.
- Avoid standing water. It may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Do not drink tap water until it has been cleared to do so.
While hurricanes are potentially dangerous and life threatening, preparedness is crucial to weathering the storm safely.