Hurricane season is here. How well are you prepared for a storm? Experts from Personal Readiness Education Programs (PREP) — a local company that offers real-world disaster relief programs, urban and wilderness courses, along with help preparing for natural disasters — offer the following tips to help residents get situated as the storm season begins.
Preparedness is key to avoid standing in long lines and paying higher prices when a storm is near.
The right-front quadrant of a hurricane is where the most severe weather will be. This is where there will be increased storm surge and greater potential for tornados. Severe gusting winds can happen anywhere in a storm. As the storm passes, items that might have been shielded from approaching winds may be exposed to opposite-direction winds later. Expect bad weather from all directions.
Flooding and water intrusion often cause more property damage and danger to life during a hurricane than the wind. Take a few minutes to look around the home and property for anything that might become damaged by blowing or standing water. Be ready to react to structural damage and water intrusion.
Before a storm arrives, consolidate all storm-survival supplies to one location in the center of the home. This will make things easier to find in the dark when the power is out and will aid in inventory of supplies and rationing if needed. This is also helpful if evacuation becomes necessary.
During a flood event, roads and canals may appear similar, leading drivers to mistakenly drive into canals. If unsure, look for mailboxes.
Most coastal areas can be flooded once the storm surge pushes onshore or into ocean inlets. Storm surge can affect anybody. Water can be pushed inland, disrupting storm sewer drainage systems leaving nowhere for rainwater to go until the storm passes. Past experience shows that some communities drain quicker than others during flooding events. Take this into account for travel or evacuation purposes.
Gusting winds can break large branches and send them across yards, especially if it’s early in the season when trees haven’t been exposed to strong winds for a while and still have leaves and pine needles. That large tree may look sturdy, but standing water may loosen the soil around the roots.
After a storm, power will be restored to critical grid areas first, such as hospitals and areas with heavy populations. Report outages early and be ready to survive independently for a while. The recommended 72-hour emergency kit will fall short if power is out for weeks. Have a plan to cook off grid and be able to wash dishes properly to prevent a food-borne illness outbreak in the home.
When there are busy phone circuits, use texting as an alternative. Texting runs on a different system and requires less bandwidth. Use an out-of-area relative as a family emergency contact. Make sure everyone has that number to relay messages.
During cleanup operations, the power may be out for some time. Use the buddy system to care for each other and be sure to stay properly hydrated. Most injuries happen after a storm due to accidents with tools and bad decisions. Stay properly hydrated to ensure making good decisions. Drink a minimum of a half-gallon of water each day.