Are You Prepared for Hurricanes?
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is well underway and the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center states that atmospheric and oceanic conditions remain conducive for an above-average hurricane season. “After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.
We've already had 14 named storms in 2021, equaling the average for an entire year. Hurricane Ida has been the most devastating so far, but all hurricanes pose a risk. With more storms on the way, it is essential that families and communities are prepared for all possible outcomes. To help ensure your family is prepared, follow the tips below.
Preparing for Hurricanes
Step 1: Know Your Risk
It is a common misconception that if you are not living near the coast, you don’t need to prepare for hurricanes. However, rain, wind and water can affect even land locked states! Click here to discover your area’s hurricane risk.
Step 2: Make an Evacuation Plan
Keep in mind that weather patterns can shift unexpectedly, and action may need to be taken abruptly. Make sure that you have an evacuation plan for every location you and your family members frequent outside the home, such as the office, school, daycare, etc. and have a plan for what to do if family members get separated. Communicate this plan with every member of the household so everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what to do. It is also a good idea to have your evacuation plan accessible to everyone through a sharing platform such a OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox, etc.
Step 3: Have a Go-Bag
Gather food, water, medicine, extra clothes and anything else you may need and create a go-bag. Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 delta variant infections, it is a good idea to have hand sanitizer, extra masks and disinfecting wipes/sprays packed as well.
A great addition to your Go-Bag would be one or more GO-KOTs. You never know what the sleeping arrangements at shelters will be, or if you are staying with friends and family, they may not have enough beds for everyone. Packing GO-KOTs ensures you and your family will have somewhere comfortable to sleep at night.
Step 4: Think Ahead and Stay InformedWhen it comes to hurricanes, it is important to think ahead and stay informed! Learn emergency skills such as First Aid and CPR, how to live without power, how to use a generator safely, etc. You will also want to stay informed on your area's hurricane risk, possible evacuation orders and other life saving information. Sign up for free emergency alerts from your local government, download the free Red Cross emergency app, have a battery powered radio and ensure you have a way to charge your cell phone.
Step 5: Have a Plan for Your Pets
During emergencies and natural disasters, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Your family’s disaster plans must include your furry family members too. Remember, if it is not safe for you to stay at home, then it is not safe for them either. Pack all of their necessary supplies, such as food, treats, vet records, medicine, blankets, etc., in your go-bag. Ensure your evacuation route includes a mode of transportation that is pet friendly and have pet friendly hotels saved. If you plan on staying with family or friends, make sure they are aware that your pets will be joining you. To learn about livestock safety during a hurricane, click here!
For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the CDC or Ready.gov! In addition, for very specific details on hurricane preparedness, such as preparing for extremely high winds, preparing for flash flooding, the difference between a go-bag and stay at home kit, etc., visit the Red Cross!