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Gearing up for hurricane season

August 30, 2013

Every afternoon, as the dark clouds roll in, I can’t help but wonder, “when will this rain ever go away?” But, if you live in Florida, like I do, you have probably accepted the fact the rain is here to stay. And on the days when the thunder and lightning seem unusually intense, I often anticipate a potential hurricane on the horizon. Yes, I said it – hurricane. Hurricane season officially began June 1st and is expected to last until November 30th. And weather experts are already projecting this year’s hurricane season to be a bumpy ride – estimating as many as six storms that could result in major hurricanes.

Here are some tips to ensure your family is prepared for hurricane season.

Build an emergency kit.

This kit should include everything your family needs to survive over a 72-hour period, such as food, water, and other emergency supplies. For a complete list of what to include in your family’s emergency kit, check out the Ready.gov checklist. It’s important to assemble an emergency kit before a storm hits, since you will probably not be able to travel to a local store for supplies during, or after, a hurricane.

Be on alert.

Subscribe for weather alerts sent via text message for your area, to be informed if a potential storm is coming. It’s also important to understand the meaning of the National Weather Service watches and warnings to help keep your family safe.

Have a family communication plan.

Decide how you will contact one another in case of emergency, if you are not located in the same place. Designate a relative who lives out-of-state to let them know that you are safe, and make sure that every member of the family knows that person’s phone number. You should also ask your child’s daycare or school about their emergency plan, in case a storm hits while your child is away from home.

Prepare your home for a hurricane.

Cover all of your windows either with permanent storm shutters, or pieces of plywood that are cut and ready to be installed. Make sure that all of the bushes and trees around your house are well trimmed, so that they are more wind resistant. Clear loose and clogged gutters and downspouts. Reinforce garage doors to prevent wind from seeping in, which can cause structural damage in the event that there is a lot of strong wind surrounding your home. Be prepared to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, trashcans, or anything else that isn’t tied down to prevent them from blowing away, or getting destroyed, during the storm.

Have an evacuation plan.

Know if you live in an evacuation area, and if your land is prone to flood. Learn your community evacuation routes and how to find higher ground, if need be. Determine where you would go in case of an evacuation, and how you would get there. Laying out these plans ahead of time will make evacuating a more seamless process, in the event that there is an emergency.

It’s important for every family to be prepared for a hurricane, since it is often too late to plan for emergencies once a heavy storm, or hurricane, hits. Hopefully these tips will help make your family’s ride through hurricane season a little less bumpy.

For more information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit:

Ready.gov

National Weather Service Hurricane Center website

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