It is a common misconception that a hurricane preparedness checklist only covers the winds and rains associated with the storms. In addition, there is a bit of confusion with respect to the actual beginning and end of hurricane season. What should residents along the Gulf and East coasts know about preparing for hurricane season?
When is hurricane season?
The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) pinpoints hurricane season to fall between June 1 and Nov. 30. Within this time frame, approximately 97 percent of tropical storms occur. Hurricane preparedness should nevertheless be on the minds of residents throughout the year, since some storms have indeed occurred outside of this time frame.
What types of events should residents cover on a hurricane preparedness checklist?
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warns to prepare for wind, flooding and storm surges. Before, during and after a hurricane, tornadoes, inland flooding and also extremely high winds may occur. With tornadoes, there comes the danger of lightning and hail. Preparing for hurricane season must take all eventualities into consideration.
Is a safe room effective?
Hurricane preparedness demands that each component of the storm carries its own safety procedures. For example, as outlined by Yahoo! News, the northeastern corner of a basement is safest when a tornado strikes. For flooding, this would be the most dangerous spot to be. Residents must assign a safe area in the home -- or within the neighborhood -- for each of the storm components.
What should be on a hurricane preparedness shopping list?
The FDA urges those residing along the Gulf and East coasts to purchase bottled water and canned goods. Unscented liquid household bleach -- eight drops to one gallon of water -- can make questionable water drinkable. Frozen gel packs and coolers can act as makeshift refrigerators, if the power is out for a prolonged period of time. Placing thermometers in the fridge and freezer alerts the consumer to unsafe temperatures. The FDA considers the safety zone -- perishables at above 40 degrees -- to be two hours.
Are there special instructions for medications?
It is a good idea to have a week's worth of medicines labeled and stocked in a waterproof container. In a pinch, a watertight sandwich bag will do.
Who has information about emergency kits?
The Red Cross offers a collection of must-have items for an emergency trunk. They include blankets, baby and pet supplies. A portable mini-version of this trunk makes for an evacuation kit. Personal papers, emergency cash, medications -- for humans and pets -- and food rations for each member of the family go into this bag.
Going by the book with respect to hurricane preparedness is a must. If not everyone in the family is on the same page, preparing for hurricane season is difficult. Practicing emergency procedures is crucial; especially younger family members should be drilled every so often to ensure that they remember the steps to take -- in the event of an evacuation or the need to visit a safe room.