The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Friday, May 29, 2009

Now is the time to prepare for hurricanes!

In continuing with the Hurricane Preparedness Week schedule, today's focus is preparedness. I'm sure that survivors in the New Orleans 9th Ward could tell you a thing or two about hurricane preparedness or perhaps the potentially devastating consequences of not being prepared, or perhaps you'd rather talk to some of the people from the Bolivar Peninsula (very dramatic link to Hurricane Ike aftermath) in Gilchrist, Texas, whose lives were destroyed as Hurricane Ike plowed ashore.

"Preventing the loss of life and minimizing the damage to property from hurricanes are responsibilities that are shared by all."
Yes, preparedness is EVERYONE'S responsibility. We are all charged with making sure that we educate ourselves and have a disaster action plan for the sake of protecting ourselves and our families. If everyone would take the initiative to do that, rescue crews wouldn't be putting their lives on the line quite so much to save people... Preparation and mitigation are the most important things regarding hurricane safety.
Disaster Prevention should include:

Developing a Family Plan
Creating a Disaster Supply Kit
Having a Place to Go
Securing your Home
Having a Pet Plan
This is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I am going to really break down each of these areas. Weather awareness is the best approach to staying safe. The more educated you are, the better prepared you are. It is my objective to reach as many people as I can with valuable weather knowledge share.

Developing a Family Plan
This morning, I heard that over half of the people on the east coast think they aren't vulnerable to hurricanes, and a striking percentage of coastal residents do not have a disaster preparedness plan. Frankly, anyone on the coast is at risk and at a bare minimum should have a family plan in place. Really, all families should have a written family disaster plan for "what to do, in case...." you can fill in the blank there. Whatever your vulnerability... even if it's a house-fire plan. What will your family do if disaster strikes? Do you have a plan? For a hurricane plan, what's your family's vulnerability??? Storm surge, winds, flooding...? Do you have an escape route? Do you have important documents gathered in the safest spot? Do you have a family member or friend out of the area as a point of contact? Where is your disaster supplies kit? Is your property covered for disaster by insurance? Do you have a NOAA Weather Radio???Have you taken first aid, CPR or disaster preparedness classes?

Disaster Supplies Kit
1. Water - at least 1 gallon/day/person for 3 to 7 days
2. Food - for 3 to 7 days (non-perishable packaged or canned food/juices)
3. Blankets/Pillows
4. Clothing - seasonal/rain gear/sturdy shoes
5. First Aid Kit/Medicines/Prescription Drugs
6. Special Items - for babies and the elderly
7. Toiletries/Hygiene items/Moisture wipes
8. Flashlight/Batteries
9. Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio!!
10. Telephone - Fully charged
11. Cash and Credit Cards
12. Keys
13. Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
14. Tools
15. Vehicle fuel tanks filled
16. Pet care items - proper identification/immunization records-ample supply of food and water-a carrier—muzzle and leash

Have a place to go
Mikey and I were amazed and disappointed in the lack of evacuation before Hurricane Ike. We didn't feel like the need for evacuation was effectively conveyed to the population and people were waiting until after school, after work... to get out of dodge.
1. If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure. If possible, leave before officials order the evacuation.
2. Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home.
3. Be prepared to wait in traffic.
4. If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate.
5. If going to a hotel or motel during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave.
6. If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter.
7. Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave.

Secure your home!
The best way to prepare your home and property for a hurricane is to reinforce and protect areas where wind could enter. It is important to strengthen the exterior of your home so that debris cannot tear large holes making your home more vulnerable to wind damage. A structure is only as strong as its weakest point. Here are five critical areas where you should focus your protection and reinforcement efforts:
Typically, garage doors and windows are the first to fail in excessive wind.

Having a pet plan
So many times, during disasters we see pets who have been left behind in horrendous conditions, and they become susceptible to diseases and harm, and left pets can become abnormally aggressive and defensive. It is essential that if you have a pet, that you work your pet into your disaster plan. You can prepare ahead of the disaster by having current on their vaccinations. Have a current photograph of your pet. Make certain that your pet keeps a collar with identification and have a leash on hand to control your pet. You should also have a pet carrier for each animal large enough for the pet to stand and turn around in. Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

Incidentally, the Tropical Depression that formed yesterday poses no threat to land and will not be forming a Tropical Storm as had been forecasted, so it looks like Ana is still up for grabs. It was, however, a great way of alerting people of the upcoming season. Now is the time to prepare. Don't wait until it's too late. Also, guess who has a slight risk for severe weather this afternoon and lots of late morning sunshine... Me!

Have a fabulous day!

1 comment:

  1. Reading this is actually quite scary.
    A little snow here and the country comes to a standstill.


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