On average there will be two major hurricanes every year and being prepared for disaster to strike is essential, regardless of how unlikely a disaster.
Every few months the news broadcasts footage of damage caused by tropical storms, more often than not in coastal locations, and talk up the destruction that has been left behind. Another common part of any story is the number of fatalities and injuries suffered.
Once a storm has officially grown into a hurricane, widespread panic spreads even though only an average of 17 deaths a year in the United States are caused as a direct result of hurricanes. Having a procedure in place, which unfortunately 36% of Americans do not, will see you and your family avoid any potential danger.
Watch the News
In times where a natural disaster is a very real possibility, 24-hour rolling news plays a key role in offering advice and safety precautions. Satellite images are able to show the storm’s projected route and how long it will take to travel – keep informed with regular updates and act accordingly.
If an evacuation warning has been issued, just as two million Florida citizens received as a result of Hurricane Matthew in October of last year, take heed and get out. The chances are that, if your area has been advised to evacuate, you are more at risk of drowning with 76% of storm-related deaths coming as a result of water, as per a study by the American Meteorological Society.
Whether you are still at home or on the move, supplies are incredibly important even if your energy supply is still functional as it may be deemed unsafe to go outside. Death and injuries are far more likely outside when you are exposed to the dangerous conditions than inside a building.
Food and water storing should be at the top of your list. Keep at least three days’ worth of non-perishable food and a tank capable of storing at least a gallon per person of potable water for drinking and sanitation.
Clothes and blankets to keep warm should also be stored and easily reachable, as well as personal hygiene supplies and medication. Also keep copies of important documents such as passports, driving licences, bank statements and insurance policies in a waterproof container – this will ensure there are no issues when seeking help in the event of losing your home.
Many households have backup generators in the event of losing electricity to their home, but unless absolutely vital it is best to may do with candles and a flashlight.
An electric generator runs the risk of causing serious injury in wet conditions – i.e. a flood – while a generator run on gas poses its own risks. It is imperative that you know exactly what you are doing, as more people (13) died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning when Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008 than drowning (8) or falling trees (7), in figures released by the American Medical Association.
Know Where to Go
If you have come to the conclusion that evacuating the area is a necessity, know where it is that you are going and the exact route that you will be taking. Evacuation means that there is a real chance that your home and surrounding area is in danger, so there must be no delay in leaving.
Have different sets of plans ready, both for the short and long-term as, worst case scenario, you will not have a home to go back to. Know exactly what your insurance covers and where you and your family will be residing in this eventuality. If you have family that you can stay with this will be the best option, especially for any children, otherwise a hotel is the next best but more expensive option.
Following these basic steps in the event of a hurricane, or any other natural disaster, with a carefully thought out plan of action, will keep you and your family safe.