Yes, it is again that time of the year for all Florida, Gulf States and East Coast residents: Hurricane Season is upon us!
The National Hurricane Preparedness Week substituted the previous National Hurricane Awareness Week in 2004 when the authorities realized that awareness did not equate preparedness. They were looking not just to inform the public about the hazards and dangers of hurricanes, but for the population at large to be ready for action after adequate information and dissemination. It is widely believed that this new approach has and will largely avert or reduce the pernicious effects of a hurricane disaster.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2019 is set to start on May 5 through May 11. As is the case with prior years, this initiative addresses a specific theme every day of the week, as well as posting online and through social media a number of hurricane preparedness tour stops in the form of infographics and videos.
1. Sunday May 5th: Determine Your Risk
Hurricanes are not solely a coastal problem. Wind and water hazards are felt hundreds of miles inland. Assess where you live and watch out for:
- Storm surges
- Rip currents
- Large waves
- Heavy rainfall
- Inland flooding
- Strong winds
2. Monday May 6th: Develop an Evacuation Plan
First, figure out if your home is hurricane-resistant or if it will be safe for you to stay at home. If the answer is no, or even if you want to be well informed in case of any contingencies…
- Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone.
- Plan your route out and destination, meaning a neighbor’s, a friend’s, or a family member’s home or shelter in a safe area.
- Follow orders if you are told to evacuate.
- If you have pets, plan accordingly as most shelters will not allow entry.
- Finally, write down your plan.
3. Tuesday May 7th: Assemble Disaster Supplies
You are going to need supplies. That’s a given. Get them before hurricane season starts. Plan not only for the actual hurricane, but also for a potentially lengthy aftermath.
- Non-perishable food and water for at least three days for every person in your household.
- Three-days worth of medicine. Fill out prescriptions beforehand.
- Batteries, radios, flashlights.
- All-purpose chargers, especially for cell phones. Crank or solar powered USBs are best.
- Gas up.
- Have cash reserves on hand
4. Wednesday May 8th: Get an Insurance Checkup
- Get a check-up with your agent, especially concerning homeowners, car, and boat insurance.
- Know your policy and consider flood insurance. Standard homeowners insurance does NOT cover flooding, whether you are an owner or a renter.
- Keep necessary documents with you.
- Visit www.floodsmart.gov for more information.
5. Thursday May 9th: Strengthen Your Home
If you ride out the storm at home, just make sure it is up to local hurricane building code specifications. Then…
- Cover windows and doors with plywood, steel or aluminum panels.
- Trim property trees.
- Secure all doors and loose outdoor items.
- Move your car(s) and boat(s) to a secure location.
- Remember that the most vulnerable part of your home is the garage door, so make sure it can withstand the winds.
6. Friday May 10th: Help Your Neighbor
Most people rely on neighbors for assistance before and after a hurricane.
- Start the conversation and design Neighbor-Helping-Neighbor strategies.
- Help neighbors prepare, such as purchasing supplies.
- Help neighbors evacuate. You may even be ordered to do so.
- Check in on neighbors after it is safe to go outside.
7. Saturday May 11th: Complete A Written Plan
Take the time NOW to start your written hurricane plan.
- Begin buying supplies now. Massively long lines and product supply scarcity are a given just before the hurricane hits.
- Take photos of all your valuables.
- Keep important documentation together for quick access.
- Share your plan with household members and make sure they too are informed and ready.