September is National Preparedness Month and this blog on Hurricanes is part of a series corresponding with the Federal Emergency Management Association’s weekly themes for the month.
We can easily imagine forceful winds as being damaging, but most hurricane deaths and damages are not due to the winds, but instead to the flooding that often happens after hurricanes. Hurricanes can cause storm surge to travel several miles inland which can lead to damage at businesses and homes. Learn about flood insurance before you need it and see if you live in an area prone to flooding at www.floodsmart.gov.
Here’re some common sense tips to consider even before you find yourself confronted with an approaching hurricane. Trim bushes and shrubs and take down dead tree limbs because branches can easily snap off and become airborne. If you live in an area where you get a lot of hurricanes or tropical storms, invest in storm shutters. Have an evacuation plan in case you need to get out of town. Know where you’ll be headed and how to get there. If you leave early, consider booking a couple of hotels so that you have options if you don't know where the hurricane path.
If you take public transportation, call your local transportation authority to learn about their emergency plans and how they’ll disseminate information.
Hurricanes are often accompanied by dangerous amounts of rain. Flooded roads are always dangerous. Rushing water can knock down and carry away an adult. Just two feet of rushing water can float cars, trucks, and SUVs. Remember this phrase, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” It could save your life. Get more info on flooding at this link to a previous Disaster Resource Team blog about flooding. View here.
A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are anticipated within 36 hours. If it appears that a hurricane may be headed your way, bring in lawn furniture and anything else that can take flight in severe winds. If you can’t bring things indoors, you’ll want to tie them down so that they don’t become projectiles. If you’ve got an electric garage door opener, disconnect it so that you can open it manually should you lose power.
If your power does go out, your risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Never use a generator indoors! Keep the generator out of your basement or garage and always use them far away from windows and doors.
Prepare an emergency kit ahead of time, in case your power lines come down. Stock it with supplies for all family members and pets. If you have a kit already, bear in mind that your needs will change over time. Keep it updated. Essentials for the emergency kit include a hand crank or battery powered radio, solar or car phone charger, batteries, and extra cash since ATMs and credit card machines may not work. Learn more here: www.ready.gov/kit
If you need to shelter in place, a FEMA safe room is your best bet. Learn how to create one in your home here.
For information about preparing for a hurricane, please visit the FEMA PreparAthon site at www.ready.gov/hurricanes, the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ or www.hurricanes.gov.
Get mitigation tips for natural disasters here: More mitigation tips at: http://1.usa.gov/1o9qmti.
For more disaster planning resources and templates, please visit www.MACUCC.org/DisasterResponse.
You can register to participate in America’s PrepareAthon grassroots campaign at www.ready.gov/prepare.
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