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Hurricane Safety

Posted on Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Hurricane Safety

Hurricanes are major and dangerous storms that form over warm oceans and move toward land. Those which make landfall not only damage coastlines but can also cause destruction hundreds of miles inland. Storms that simply skirt by can also cause issues like life-threatening storm surges. For safety reasons and preparedness, meteorologists do their best to forecast storms in advance and provide valuable information to viewers. 

Emergency evacuation describes the movement of people away from a threat or occurrence of hazard. This involves traveling to safer areas or designated emergency shelters. Local government and emergency management offices are involved and play important roles in the evacuation process. There are two categories of evacuations, mandatory or voluntary. Each is designed to save lives. 

  • Mandatory: Weather conditions are extremely serious and dangerous. People must evacuate for safety. During this time, police, fire, and emergency services are likely suspended due to severe weather. During a mandatory evacuation, by law, one must leave. Those who stay behind may face consequences for failure to evacuate.
  • Voluntary: Weather conditions may be dangerous. However, it’s a personal choice whether to move away from the approaching storm or remain at home. During this time, police, fire, and emergency services will operate unless weather conditions worsen and make it unsafe for them to respond. Those who choose to remain in place will not face consequences for non-evacuation. Note that a voluntary evacuation can potentially develop into a mandatory one.

Let’s be real!

Our homes are meaningful places. It is beneficial to take measures to protect our homes from storm damage. However, ignoring evacuation orders is a big no-no. Realistically, in a man vs. nature scenario, man has little power during a direct hurricane hit. And it’s dangerous to be present during a powerful storm. Not only does it put your life at risk, but it also puts emergency services at risk, too.

Should a hurricane head your way, here are some recommendations: 

  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings. Share this information with family and friends. Hold household meetings to discuss emergency plan options.
  • Listen to the authorities. Heed the advice of the authorities regarding evacuations. Don’t ignore mandatory orders to evacuate. Evacuate early if possible.
  • Secure property. Protect windows with storm shutters. Secure outdoor furniture. Unplug appliances. Also turn off gas, electricity, and water when advised.  
  • Plan well. Have emergency phone numbers, supply kits, shelter plans, and evacuation routes planned. Know your destination.
  • Be prepared. Be prepared with supplies such as food, water, and medical and emergency supplies. Have luggage ready to go.
  • Prepare your vehicle – Gas up the car in advance and/or move cars under cover. No vehicle? Plan to evacuate with friends/family or contact the authorities for evacuation guidance.
  • Gather necessary items. Gather cell phones and chargers, credit cards, insurance cards, cash and other important personal material possessions needed for evacuation.
  • Safeguard personal documents. This includes passports, wills, medical documents, personal identification, etc. For example, keep all original documents in a fireproof and watertight safety deposit box to keep them safe and easily accessible. Electronic copies of important documents should be password-protected and secured.
  • Consider pets. Pet owners should make plans for their pets to include emergency shelters if needed. Do not leave pets behind during storms nor avoid evacuation orders to care for pets. If traveling with a pet, pack extra food and pet supplies.
  • Create a checklist. Should you decide to stay put during a non-mandatory evacuation, be ready with supplies. Head to gov to learn what emergency resources are necessary, such as drinking water, non-perishable food, a battery powered radio, flashlights with batteries, etc. Use the checklist to organize your list of needed supplies.
  • Follow safety advice. For example, understand how to protect yourself from high winds and flooding, learn how to troubleshoot emergency situations such as rising waters and dangerous winds, and act sensibly by avoiding driving through flood waters. When returning home following a storm, conditions may still be hazardous. As always, follow safety protocols.

Don’t mess around.

Hurricanes are strong and dangerous storms that should not be taken lightly. For the safety of yourself and your family and friends, follow the evacuation guidance of your local authorities. While evacuating is not fun, it is a necessary part of life in a hurricane-prone region. Should you decide to stay home when evacuation is voluntary, understand the risks. In addition, prepare in advance and have emergency supplies in place. Remember that your safety in a hurricane is top priority.

Interested in some hurricane facts? If so, click here!

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