By Lina Younes
With NOAA’s revised hurricane season outlook for 2012 forecasting “above-normal” tropical storm activity for this year, I think it is timely to take several steps to get yourself and your family prepared before any hurricanes reach our shores. While the official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin begins on June 1st, September has proven to be the most active month for hurricane activity in the U.S. statistically speaking. So, what can you do to get ready?
A common sense approach to hurricane preparedness or any type of emergency is ideal. Develop your own emergency supplies kit. What should this kit have?
- Battery-powered radio
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Bottled water
- Canned food
- Manual can opener
- Emergency phone numbers for your local utility companies and other basic services
- First aid kit
- If you take any medications regularly, have those prescriptions and other medical necessities on hand.
- Store important family documents in a portable waterproof container. Keep that container on hand in case of an emergency evacuation.
- Learn about hurricane evacuation routes in your area.
- Have cash on hand.
- Fill your car up with gas before the storm hits.
Don’t forget to get your home ready in anticipation of a storm.
- Remove clutter around the house that can easily become storm debris once the hurricane hits.
- Clean up the rain gutters and downspouts well in advance.
- If you have any leaks in your home, repair them before the storm hits. They will only become worse with torrential rains and hurricane winds.
Furthermore, use technology to your advantage. Now is a good time to sign up for text messages from FEMA to get regular updates via your mobile phone and social media platforms. And, as we’ve mentioned before, preparation will help you to be ready for the unexpected in the event of a storm or any other environmental emergency.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.