Hurricane Season 2013 (June 1 to Nov 30.)
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that 2013 will be 70% more active than average hurricane season with 3 to 6 major hurricanes. Knowledge is power, by knowing your vulnerabilities, your property deficiencies, your community action plan and the course you have to take to keep your love ones safe, you can mitigate the effect of a hurricane disaster.
The time is now, get ready!
1. COLLECT INFORMATION: Gather all the important documents store it on your computer or the clouds or thumb drive. Make sure to have original documentation stored in a waterproof container.
- Household information: summary of personal information for your household. In the event of an emergency or if you are incapacitated, this information will help others get in touch with your family
- Legal documents: Birth certificate, adoption papers, marriage license, divorce papers, social security, passports, green card, will, Power of attorney, alimony, child support, Military ID.
- Property documents: Mortgage or real estate deeds of trust, property tax, Flood Insurance, Homeowners insurance, content insurance, property appraisal, pictures of your house and content.
- Vehicle information: lease contract, car insurance, registration, ownership papers.
- Financial information: Investment accounts, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement accounts, previous year tax statement.
- Medical information: health insurance, list of necessary medications, disability documentation, living will, etc.
2. MAKE A PLAN: Make sure your family has a plan before disaster strikes. It’s important that you write all the information on how to get in contact with each other, where will you go and what will you do in case of emergency. Include information about the different places you frequent and their emergency plans. Find out which are the emergency shelters open in your area and the evacuation routes. Contact a family or friend out of state and arrange your stay in case you have to be evacuated from the disaster zone. Very important to include in your plan the special attention to people with disabilities, Childbirth, Infant Feeding and don’t forget your pets!
3. PREPARE A KIT: Prepare two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and other one small on your vehicle. Just collect the basic items your household may need in case of a disaster.
- Documents: get all the documents previously collect, camera, local maps and cash.
- Food and water: One gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food, three day supply, can opener.
- First Aid Kit: with all the basic and also include antibacterial, prescription medicine, hand wash.
- Emergency articles: battery or solar flashlight, radio and fan, waterproof matches, dust masks, zip-lock bags, batteries, emergency whistle, instant charger for cellphones and laptops.
- Personal articles: change of clothing, hygiene items, sleeping bags.
- Others: activities for children, infant formula, diapers.
4. PREPARE YOUR HOME: You can take some precautions to mitigate the impact of hurricane forces, but keep in mind that this won’t make it hurricane-proof, nor do these measures guarantee your safety.
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Trim trees and shrubs around your home. I recommend doing it with a professional.
- Clean rain gutters and downspouts.
- Turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water for sanitary purpose.
- Reinforce your garage doors and roof structure. I recommend doing it with a professional.
- Turn off propane tanks. Bring the furniture inside and garbage cans.
- Install generator or consider a solar generator.
- Retrofit your home to make it more climate change resilient.
5. PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT: One of the things we don’t consider before the hurricane strikes is the protection of the environment. Natural disasters generate tons of debris and produce hazard environments; we should not add an extra burden to these already extreme conditions. Check with your city to see if they have waste management options before the hurricane. You can implement practices to reduce the negative impact by paying attention to all the household hazardous waste in your home.
- Keep all the chemicals like paints, cleaning products, pesticides, and drain cleaner in a proper container. Start buying green products.
- Dispose paints, motor oil, and gasoline in a drop off locations.
- Never throw needles, batteries, light bulbs directly into the trash.
6. GET INFORM: Public safety officials use reliable systems to alert you and your family in the event of natural disasters. Many communities also offer emergency alert notifications through their own systems.
- Register on CODE RED: this Is a high speed telephone communication service for emergency notifications with instructions for action.
- Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio receiver. Broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Go to FEMA web site: www.ready.gov
MY THOUGHTS: Climate change is threatening us with extreme weather across the Globe express in all different forms, from extreme heat to tornadoes and floods. Last Year, I witnessed firsthand damages caused by storm surge, high winds and flooding — the great devastation caused by “Sandy” in New Jersey Shores. Hundreds of assessments done, walked me through the path of devastation and suffering where I found common denominators: lack of awareness, absence of preparation, and the pitfalls of the standard construction.For this reason is very important to be ready this hurricane season. Start planning to retrofit your property and make it more resilient to climate change. Invest in smart solutions to mitigate extreme weather and environmental pollution aiming for the well-being of the ones you love, the community and the planet as a whole. Prepare, be ready, Be safe!
Maria M Hernandez