The end of summer does not signal the end of hurricane danger. Officially, hurricane season runs between June 1st and November 30th of each year. Typically, August and September are the most active months for hurricanes. However, as last year’s Superstorm Sandy proved, it’s quite possible that severe weather could hit closer to Thanksgiving. And some of history’s most destructive hurricanes have made their appearance in the fall months.
This year, hurricane experts are predicting a very active Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasts a 70% chance of an above-normal hurricane season this year, with 13 to 19 storms predicted. As we head into the heart of hurricane season, it’s important to make sure your family is prepared.
Tips for the 2013 Hurricane Season
Check your Emergency Kit. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Administration) offers plenty of information on how to create your own emergency kit, if you don’t already have one. If you do have a kit assembled, go through it to check that its contents haven’t expired. You may also need to substitute fresh sets of batteries. Check everything to make sure it’s still working and ready to go.
Each family member needs an independent light source. Light is not only a practical must-have; it’s also a human comfort that can make a big difference in a person’s post-disaster psychological state. WE recommend getting an LED flashlight for each member of your family. LED flashlights are energy efficient, durable, and capable of producing strong, consistent light. Furthermore, LED lanterns are great in emergency situations because they provide ambient light that the whole family can use, no matter where you are. Sometimes called Emergency Area Lights (EALs), LED lanterns provide light for playing games, preparing food, and setting up shelter after the sun goes down.
Additionally, the adults in your party should each have a multi-tool with various accessories for cutting, slicing, etc. That way each parent or spouse will be ready to take on the million small tasks that crop up in pre- and post-emergency situations.
Download disaster apps and make sure you have a car charger. Smartphones have had a dramatic impact on the way people do things—including the dissemination of emergency information. Last year, FEMA released a disaster smartphone app with maps of disaster shelters, an emergency kit checklist, and information on how to help survivors. Remember, however, that electricity may not be easy to come by after a major disaster, so your emergency kit should include a car or solar charger for your smartphone.
Stockpile sandbags and protect doors and windows. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you know the pre-storm drill: put up door and window protection (which can be in the form of plywood shutters) and stack sandbags around homes and businesses.
Protect important documents. Scan your family’s key documents (insurance papers, social security cards, passport, medical records, birth and marriage certificates, etc.) electronically so that you’ll always have a backup copy stored online or in a portable hard drive. The hard copies of these precious documents should be stored in waterproof, fireproof containers.
Plan ahead. Don’t wait to buy emergency supplies. Those who dawdle until the evacuation order is given often find themselves stuck in long lines, paying high prices for high demand emergency supplies. Consider emergency preparedness to be a year-round habit that the whole family can help keep up.
We pray that this year will be a mild one as far as hurricanes are concerned. But if 2013 turns out to be a year of severe storms, you’ll be prepared if you follow the tips listed here.