It’s Hurricane Season…Are You Prepared?
Every year you hear that May 15 – November 30 is the Eastern Pacific hurricane season and June 1 – November 30 is the central pacific and Atlantic hurricane season for the United States. It’s hard to miss the news when one of these powerful storms makes landfall and devastates thousands of people, communities, and businesses. In an average year, there are 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, three of which are major hurricanes reaching Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather (even though we wish we could), but there are ways that you can prepare in advance to minimize the impact and damage of a tropical storm or hurricane.
You Can’t Prepare Too Early
Early prep is key to minimizing the damage a hurricane can inflict on your business. While the first week in May is hurricane preparedness week, it is smart to start preparing even sooner. Here are some things you can do beforehand if you live in a hurricane zone:
- Determine your risk.
- Review/update your insurance policy for both your home and business.
- Develop an evacuation plan for both your home and business.
- Replenish any supplies that you used in previous storms or moved during the year. Some common items to keep at your home and business are:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation).
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food).
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
- First aid kit.
- Extra batteries.
- Whistle (to signal for help).
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation).
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities).
- Manual can opener (for food).
- Portable cell phone with chargers (fully charged) and a backup battery.
- Strengthen areas of your home and business well ahead of a storm.
- Gather supplies that you will need to strengthen your home and business once a storm is on the way.
- Download the FEMA App and subscribe to any local alert systems.
What to Do When a Tropical Storm/Hurricane Forms
When a tropical storm forms the news goes crazy and many people go on high alert. One of the best things to do when there is the potential of a tropical storm or hurricane making landfall in your area is to stay calm. If there is potential for a storm in your area, follow these key steps:
- Stay informed:
- Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
- If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone and local officials tell you to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
- Take refuge in a designated storm shelter or an interior room for high winds.
- Go to the highest level of the building if the area floods. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
At the end of the day, playing it safe when it comes to hurricanes is the best option. There are many resources online that can help you prepare in advance for hurricane season. Here are a few:
If you haven’t started preparing, it’s not too late! Get started today, so that you can minimize the risk and damage if and when a hurricane makes landfall in your area.
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