It’s been a relatively quiet hurricane season so far, but the American Red Cross reminds everyone that hurricane season runs until November 30 and urges them to prepare now in case a storm threatens their neighborhood.
According to weather experts, August is typically the time when the first Atlantic Ocean hurricane forms, although there have already been several named storms this year. The prediction for this hurricane season is for an above normal season with 13 to 19 named Atlantic storms and three to five major hurricanes.
The Weather Channel is featuring interesting facts about hurricanes and important safety information all week long as part of its “Hurricane Week” effort to educate and prepare people for the strong storms. One of today’s segments features the Red Cross putting a family to the test to see if they are ready to evacuate.
Being prepared is key to staying safe in a hurricane. Yet a poll taken by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel earlier this year reveals that many people in coastal areas have not taken steps to get ready for hurricane season. And hurricanes can threaten communities hundreds of miles inland from the coast. If the order comes to leave your neighborhood because of a hurricane, are you ready?
PREPARE TO EVACUATE Every household should build an emergency kit in an easy-to-carry container in case they have to leave their home quickly. The kit should contain the following:
MAKE A PLAN Every household should develop an emergency plan and know what they should do if something occurs. The plan should include ways to contact and find one another. Include two places to meet – one near the home and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.
Plans should include decisions about where everyone will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there. When discussing evacuation, everyone should include several different routes in case roads are closed. If pets are part of the household, they should be considered, including where they could be safe if the family has to evacuate such as pet-friendly motels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.
BE INFORMED Everyone also needs to stay informed about how officials will communicate with them during an emergency. It is also important to take a first aid and CPR/AED course—a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.
HURRICANE APP People can be ready for whatever comes their way by downloading the free Red Cross Hurricane App for mobile devices. Features include NOAA weather alerts, one-touch “I’m Safe” messaging, locations of Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.