As we approach the hurricane season, some tips become valuable for the before, during and after in case one occurs. So we have put together some important information for you to get prepared and be safe in the event of a hurricane.
What are hurricanes?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes.”
When is hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, with the peak occurring between mid-August and Late October.
How to prepare before the hurricane arrives?
Know the local hurricane evacuation route(s). Know where to go and have a plan for where you can stay if ordered to evacuate.
Sign up for local alerts and warnings and monitor local news and weather reports.
Put together a “travel bag”. Some items to be included are a flashlight, batteries, first aid supplies, medications and copies of your critical information in case you need to evacuate.
If you are not in an evacuation zone and you decide to stay in your home, stock some necessary supplies, such as enough non-perishable food and water, in case you lose power and water for several days and you are unable to leave the area.
Keep your car fueled up and in good working condition.
Make sure to protect your property. Reinforce the roof, windows and doors. Storm shutters offer the best protection, however if you don’t have them, 5/8 inch marine plywood is a good alternative.
Review insurance policies to avoid future surprises.
Create emergency communication plans with your family – sending texts is usually more reliable since phone lines are often overloaded.
Get extra cash in advance of the storm, in the event ATM machines are temporarily out of service.
What to do while it is happening?
Pay attention to local alerts and warnings. Follow guidance from local authorities.
Stay away from windows and seek shelter on the lowest level in an interior room to protect from high winds.
If there is a flooding or a flood warning move to a higher ground.
Call 9-1-1 if you are in life- threatening danger.
What to do after?
Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
Check-in with family and friends, if possible, by texting or using social media.
If you evacuated from the area you leave return to it only if authorities say it is safe to do so.
Avoid walking or driving on flooded roads or through floodwaters.
Look out for power lines.
Do not drink tap water unless authorities say it is safe.
Photograph any damages to your property in order to assist you in filling as insurance claim and do what you can to prevent further damages.
Important Storm Information
The National Weather Service (NWS) issues alerts when weather conditions make hurricanes more likely. Be familiar with the terms used so you can be prepare to take the appropriate actions depending on the alerts.
Advisory – Expect conditions that will cause significant inconveniences, this should not be a life-threatening situation if caution is used.
Watch – Happens when a tropical storm or hurricane is possible within 48 hours. For this you should monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies and gather any items that might be needed in case there is a power loss.
Warning – This alert is issued when a tropical storm or hurricane is expected within 36 hours. So when this alert is sent complete your preparations and leave the threatened area if directed to do so.
In addition to what we have shared here, there is an abundance of helpful tips on the Internet. Below we identify some important sources:
In addition to the websites above, there are some mobile apps that will give you information on storm tracking and tips for you to be prepared, such as: fema.gov/mobile-app. (This mobile includes content in Spanish)
So be on top of your game. The season has officially started. Be always aware of the weather alerts and the local authorities’ recommendations. Preparation is the best way to prevent a worst case scenario.