Things You Need To Know About Hurricane SafetyThings You Need To Know About Hurricane Safety

In the United States, hurricanes batter the East Coast and Gulf Coast on an annual basis, from June through November, with several hurricanes typically touching ground during each season. Thanks to modern technology, we often have advanced warning prior to these violent and destructive acts of nature. However, there is of course no way to halt their destructive path, as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and countless other storms of the past century, have proven. Lessons can be learned from these previous hurricanes - and this information should certainly be put to use by those who live in a hurricane-prone region.

Advanced Preparation - Those that live in hurricane areas should always be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane. At least a month before the start of hurricane season, acquire any necessary supplies that you may need. Don't wait until a hurricane watch is announced, or you'll be joining thousands of people cleaning out store shelves of anything that could be of use during the storm. After a watch is announced, it will likely be difficult to find some of the supplies that you may need. Keep an emergency supply of food and water on hand, enough to last all household members at least three days. You'll also need a first aid kit, flashlights with extra batteries, and extra clothing. Consider purchasing an all-in-one emergency kit, which should be stored in an easily accessible location.

In addition, you should ensure that your home meets all hurricane safety requirements and that you know your evacuation routes. Similar to trying to find supplies at the last minute, it may be difficult to figure out where to go in the event of a hurricane evacuation.

Once the Hurricane is Coming - If your area is under a hurricane watch - or you know a storm is coming - board up your windows or close storm shutters. Be ready to evacuate if necessary and monitor Public Service bulletins and announcements on a battery-powered radio. In the event that you live in a low-lying area, you may wish to move to higher ground to escape possible flooding. Follow your safety plan and make sure all family members are secure inside your home. Shut off natural gas and water to prevent damage that might occur during the storm.

Weathering the Storm - As the storm approaches, stay put. It's much better to weather the storm in a potentially unsafe building than outdoors with no cover. Remember that as the "eye" of the storm passes over you, it may seem as though the storm is over. It is important to stay safely inside your home or shelter until the eye has passed and authorities have sounded an "all clear."

After the Hurricane - Once the authorities sound an all clear, check to make sure that the storm has passed. Assess damage and avoid any potentially hazardous situations such as downed power lines. Check on the safety of your neighbors, if it is safe for you to do so. Then stay safe inside your home, monitor service bulletins, and enact your family's emergency plan.
by Richard Armen
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