Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hurricane Season

Next week starts the beginning of Hurricane Season here on the Atlantic side. Now is a great time to make sure you are ready for a hurricane.
Here is FEMA's page on hurricane prep.
 So what should you be doing to prepare now?
  • Have a plan for your home. Where will you store outside furniture? Do you have shutters? Do you know how to install them? What about boats?
  • Make sure to keep up on tree and shrub maintenance. Dead branches can lead to serious damage.
  • 72 hr kit! If you think you can run out to the store when a hurricane warning goes into effect, you are mistaken. Stores quickly run out of the essentials. Also be sure your 72 hour kit is portable, should you have to evacuate you will still need it. Not all shelters provide food, and stores can be out of it if trucks can't get to them.
  • Know your evacuation plan. Know which roads are evacuation routes (designaed evacuation routes generally mean that if there is a mandatory evacuation then traffic on those roads will only flow out of the area). Have an idea where you will go. Do not count on shelters, they are crowded and are meant for the people who truly have no place to go. If you have a relative you can go visit, do that. Other wise you'll need to make sure you know a way to book a hotel fast. Also when they say evacuate, you should ready to go the minute the evacuation order is issued.
  • Always keep your gas on the full end. When a hurricane watch is issued, people will go buy gas. This leads to long lines, high prices, and gas shortages. Save yourself the trouble and keep gas in the car, (and possibly a container at home).
  • Have cash on hand. Similar to gas, some people end up withdrawing all the money a bank has. You also can't be sure that you'll be able to use credit and debit cards as the machines depend on phone and internet lines, which could be damaged in a storm. That being said you don't need to keep all of your money as cash or large sums, just enough to be able to pay for gas during your evacuation and possibly more food, housing, etc.
  • Have a plan for your animals. Animals can't go in most shelters and shouldn't be left in the home to fend for themselves. Have a plan for either a kennel to hold them or to take them with you.
  • Have all your documents ready. Anything you might need to prove should be in it. In other words, birth certificates, deeds, insurance documents, vaccination records, financial records, pet records, even school records (during Katrina, many children left the area, but had trouble enrolling in school in a new area because the school had no idea what classes they were taking or had taken and their grades.)
  • Here is a post from the past which was from an event where our local emergency response team (they are the ones who decide to issue an evacuation )and several local people discussed things to do for disasters
I encourage you to plan now, so you are ready if a hurricane should threaten.
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