Hurricane Season—Are You Ready?

by: Lavonne Adams, PhD, RN, CCRN

How ready are you for a hurricane? Even if you don’t live along the coast, you are not immune to hurricane effects, since remnants of major storms can produce widespread damage from heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Such conditions pose risks to health and safety, so prior preparation is crucial. As I write this entry, we are well into hurricane season, which runs June 1st to November 30th for the Atlantic, and May 15th to November 30th for the Pacific. If you haven’t already done so, consult https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php for many helpful recommendations and links so you can prepare your family, home, and vehicle before a storm and learn how to act in the event of a storm.

Highlights include:

  • Know if you live in an evacuation area.
  • Become familiar with National Weather System watches and warnings
  • Have a weather radio
  • Establish a communication plan in case your family isn’t together when hazardous weather strikes
  • Develop an emergency plan that includes your pets and includes locations away from home
  • Keep an emergency kit—including food and water—on hand in the event power goes out or roads are impassable
  • Check on elderly or disabled family and neighbors
  • Get your home ready for a storm. Be aware of what to do in case of power outages. Make sure you consider:
    • Clearing the yard of anything that could blow around and damage your home
    • Covering windows and doors
    • How to turn off your power
    • Filling clean containers with drinking water; filling bathtub and sinks for washing
    • Emergency charging options for devices like cell phones
    • Alternatives if home medical equipment uses electricity
  • Ensure your vehicle is travel-ready and has a full tank of gas
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car
  • Consider whether you need to shelter in place or evacuate
  • Be ready to leave; if you need to evacuate, follow instructions by local officials
  • Be careful while evacuating; watch for:
    • Flying debris
    • Broken objects
    • Downed power lines
    • Flooded roads
    • Tornadoes
  • Wait until the area is declared safe before you return home

The American Red Cross also has a useful Checklist for hurricane preparedness.

Lavonne Adams is an Associate Professor at TCU Harris College of  Nursing and Health Sciences

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