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Monday, February 16, 2009

Surviving A Hurricane

Unfortunately, we’ve all see the disaster and chaos a category 5 hurricane can cause. Hurricane Katrina brought devastation and civil unrest in its path, and hopefully we’ve all learned some lessons.

Preparation is key during hurricane season. With winds up to and exceeding 150 mph, there is no hope for anyone without adequate shelter and supplies. Fortunately, ample warning is usually provided when a tropical storm becomes a hurricane - the unpredictability of what category will actually hit gives some a false security. It won’t be as bad as they think…..think again!

When preparing for a hurricane, most experienced people will board up their windows, turn off their gas, secure their boats and get out of town for the duration. Evacuation is the best method of surviving hurricane strength storms. Have a family plan ahead of time that includes keeping your vehicles fueled and in good running condition, survival bags with essentials and a complete list of what to do and what to take with you as you evacuate. Leave nothing to chance, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when the evacuation orders come down and forget the most basic necessities like water, clothing and food.

Keep in mind thousands of others may be evacuating also. Plan two different routes, and try to be on the road before everyone else. Don’t linger in your decision, that’s why a written plan that the whole family understands is crucial - any hesitation is a waste of time and will put you right in the middle of the crowds leaving town. Often times there are locations designated as shelters that are available for everyone in the community. You want to consider these locations when developing your plan, some will be well stocked with volunteers to oversee the plans. However, there have been times when shelters haven’t been the most comfortable or safest places to be. Consider all your other options before deciding on a local shelter - family or friends living in other areas may be able to provide a safer place for you to ride out the storm.

If you are caught at home, the best place for you is a small interior room without windows. Stay away from any glass including mirrors and items that could fall on you if the roof or walls were to collapse. If you live in a motor or mobile home, your only option should be to evacuate to a safer location.

Drinkable water could be very scarce following a hurricane. If flooding occurs, the standing water will be contaminated and you should purify before using it for drinking or washing. Make sure you have enough drinkable water stored for your family - you cannot survive without water. As I mentioned in the other disaster posts, make sure your stock of food and water is in a safe place and won’t be contaminated by flood waters.

Think ahead and prepare, keep your radio handy and listen for notices from your local government. Keep safe and evacuate if necessary. Preparation is the key - make sure you’re ready!


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