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Hurricane Season: Better Get Ready

2010 June 3

Have you ever listened to the weather report and wished that the weatherman missed the mark? Well, after learning that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast projects a “busy Atlantic hurricane season” this year, we all hope these predictions don’t materialize. Given the situation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmental repercussions of a major hurricane in that area could even be more devastating. Since we don’t have ways to control weather conditions, the best thing we can do with this forecast is to get ready before tropical storms approach our shores.

We are all aware of the madness at local supermarkets and hardware stores on the eve of a storm. Since we can anticipate the possibility of power outages during or right after a hurricane, why not make sure we have flashlights and batteries on hand well in advance of a hurricane? A battery-operated radio is another useful item to monitor storm developments. I remember that during one of the snowstorms this year, my small battery-operated radio was my lifeline to the outside world when my family and I were stuck home without electricity for 15 hours!

Speaking about electrical outages, never use a generator inside your home or an enclosed space like a basement or garage. The engine exhaust generates carbon monoxide, a toxic deadly toxic gas. Make sure these portable generators are used safely.

As a result of a hurricane or natural emergency, drinking water supplies may be contaminated. You can prepare by having bottled water at hand. Listen to local media reports during and after the storm for information on water safety.

While you are planning how to protect your family and home during a hurricane, don’t forget about your pets. If you live along the coastline or in an area prone to floods, there is the potential you might have to evacuate with short notice. Plan ahead where you can take your pet in such an emergency. And lastly, don’t forget about important papers like passports and insurance documents. It’s always best to prepare for the worse case scenario to be safe before the hurricane winds and rain come your way.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    June 3, 2010

    Battery-operated devices are good, but they still eventually leave you with spent batteries to dispose of: even rechargables wear out sooner or later. Why not take the next green step up and look for radios and flashlights that rely on cranks, dynamos, or solar collectors for power; they are widely available, inexpensive, and so far, very durable. Following hurricane Ivan, we were without electricity for 5 DAYS. I was so thankful I had a crank-powered radio, because I had no way to recharge batteries.

  2. edgardo berraz permalink
    June 4, 2010

    It’s a very important notice that people take advance before hurricane seasson were over lands.People can take all the meassures for bearing the disaster in the better way.I think than periodically,from here to ahead,have to be remembered these advises.Well done.

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    June 5, 2010

    These are all very important steps to take that you listed. The disability community should take all of these steps and some additional ones. Persons with disabilities should let their local fire department or police department know they have a disability and let them know where they live, and that they may need help evacuating in an emergency. Disabled persons also may need accessible transportation to evacuate, and some of the emergency shelters should be accessible for wheelchair users and persons blind and/or deaf. Accessible shelters should have a process to provide temporary replacements for lost or severely damaged wheelchairs and walkers and for making temporary refills of lost or forgotten medications. People should make copies of their prescriptions and put those in da safe place with their other important papers, but don’t forget to update them as the prescriptions change. . Also keep a list of out of area phone contacts. The different states all probably have a department or agency similar to California’s Department of Developmental Services. They should all be encouraged to develop emergency preparedness training programs for their disabled communities and should get the clients trained through their independent living programs, group homes, and or local People First Chapters. California’s DDS has had this program in place for several years now and trains the clients through the 21 regional centers, area disability boards, independent living programs, group homes and People First chapters in the state. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink
    June 6, 2010

    Linda,
    You make very good points. I bought a cheap “rechargeable” flashlight. Supposedly you just had to shake it to recharge it. Unfortunately it was totally ineffective. If there are better options available, definitely they could be a lifesaver. Thanks for the advice.

  5. Lina-EPA permalink*
    June 6, 2010

    Definitely, Edgardo
    There are many things that can be done in advance to be ready. Thanks for your input.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink
    June 6, 2010

    Michael,
    As always, thank you for your insight and good advice. Prescription information is essential. Very good points for disabled communities. Hope many people take this information to heart. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Mary Silva permalink
    July 12, 2010

    Along with overnight clothes, consider stocking your Hurricane Kit with the following: extra cash, generator, batteries, flash lights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, non-perishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, a can opener, a small cooler, candles, prescription medicines and any over-the-counter remedies you use regularly; and if you have small children – diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food.

  8. Dexter permalink
    November 10, 2010

    As always portable generator is always important at home or any place.. there are some inevitably problem or disaster happens its a way of being ready all the time

  9. Mary W Mulligan permalink
    October 1, 2011

    Emergency kits is a must for every household.. first aid kits, plenty of food ( dry ) and lots of prayers when the hurricane hits…

    Mary

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