Hurricane season is here and forecasters have predicted above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year, threatening both coastal and inland residents between now and the end of November. Just last year, Hurricane Matthew carved a destructive path up the coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, causing mass evacuations, damaging tens of thousands of homes and creating devastating flooding. The American Red Cross mobilized thousands of trained disaster workers and hundreds of emergency response vehicles, providing safe shelter, meals and snacks, relief items and help with recovery.
As vulnerable as we are in Florida to weather-related disasters, we are a resilient community when we work together to be ready. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Here are the top six things Red Cross preparedness tips to stay safe this hurricane season:
Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and evacuate if told to do so.
Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.
Get access to NOAA radio broadcasts. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio in the Red Cross Store.
Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows. Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. If travel is in your plans, learn about how emergency situations are communicated at your destination.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for expert guidance on what to do before, during and after hurricanes as well as 34 other types of emergencies. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
For families who have an existing disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If an emergency plan already exists for the household, family members should talk about it again so everyone knows what to do and where to go if an emergency occurs.
Visit www.redcross.org/hurricane for full information about what to do before, during and after a hurricane