Hurricanes are a terrifying force of nature, and climate change seems to have made them worse.
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, and it peaks from mid-August to October, according to Ready.gov, a government website produced by FEMA.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has outlined why and how you should evacuate your family if the eye of the hurricane is traveling your way. You should leave not just because the hurricane itself is deadly but because its many aftermaths such as flooding and electrical outages.
What to Do Before a Hurricane
There are a number of actions you should be taking before the hurricane hits:
- You should build an emergency kit and create a family communications plan.
- Know your surroundings.
- Learn what your property’s elevation level is.
- Make plans to secure your property
- Cover all of your home’s windows. You can use wood but permanent storm shutters are your best bet. Bring everything that isn’t tied down indoors such as outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans or anything else that isn’t tied down.
- Consider building a safe room if you have those kinds of resources.
Guidelines for Evacuation
Even if you have taken preliminary steps to protect your home, you might still decide that it’s safer for you and your family to leave if the hurricane is coming for you. You should definitely make plans to leave if you live in a mobile home or temporary structure, a high rise building or you live on the coast or a floodplain, according to the website Ready.gov, created by FEMA:
- Tell your family about where you can meet, both inside and outside of your immediate neighborhood in case you get split up.
- Keep your car tank full before the evacuation. Gas stations could be closed, crowded or not functional during emergencies.
- Know alternate routes of exit in case familiar options have been taken out of the equation.
- Leave early enough to avoid the bad weather.
- Be alert for washed-out roads, bridges, or downed power lines. Never drive into flooded areas.
- Create an emergency supply kit that includes items like food, water and essential first aid supplies. You should have enough of these supplies to last 72 hours.
What To Do After the Hurricane
These are some of the steps you should take after the hurricane is over, according to the FEMA website Ready.gov.
- Continue listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local news outlets for the latest weather updates.
- If you have become separated from your family, then use your family communications or contact the American Red Cross at 1 800 Red Cross or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site: www.safeandwell.org
- If you can’t return to your hours or home, then text SHELTER plus your zip code to 43362 to find the nearest shelter near you, for example, Shelter12345. You can also apply to FEMA if you have longer-term housing needs.
- Do a careful walk thru around the outside of your house. You should be checking for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
- Inspect your building for damages and take pictures of the damages, both of the building and its contents for insurance purposes.
- You should stay out of building if you smell gas or if your home was damaged by fire or if floodwaters remain around the house.
- Avoid drinking or making food with tap water until you’re sure it is safe from contamination.
Hopefully, these guidelines will keep you safe during one of nature’s worst events.