Better Safe Than Sorry

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By Lina Younes

Well, it’s that time of year. Hurricane Season 2013 is upon us. NOAA is predicting an active hurricane season for the Atlantic/Caribbean area. Even inland areas can suffer the effects of tropical storms such as strong winds, torrential rains, flooding, and even tornadoes after a hurricane has made landfall. While the most active month for hurricanes  in our area seems to be August, it is not unusual to see tropical storms towards the later part of the season ending December 1st.

So what should you do to get ready today?  Well, first of all, develop your own emergency kit and hurricane preparedness plan for you and your family. Here are some suggestions.

  •  In developing your emergency supplies kit, store up on canned food, bottled water, and other supplies like batteries.
  •  Place matches in a waterproof container.
  • Stock up on paper cups, plates, plastic utensils.
  •  Remember to stock up on pet food for your pets.
  • Have important family documents on hand in a portable waterproof container.
  • Have cash on hand.
  • Have books, games, activities for children.
  • Have a battery-powered portable radio.
  • Connect to NOAA’s Weather Radio . Visit this link for information on the frequencies and public service announcements.
  • Charge your cell phones in advance and have an extra phone battery on hand.
  • Have a manual can opener.
  • Around the house, clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Learn about hurricane evacuation routes in your area.
  • Using technology, you can sign up to get text messages from FEMA with updated information about the storm
  • Have emergency phone numbers on hand to report power outages with your local utility company.
  • Don’t forget to plan ahead to keep ensure your pets’ safety as well. They also need a pet disaster supply kit. You may need to take them to a local pet shelter in the event that you are evacuated.

Furthermore, in the event of a power outage in your area, never use a generator inside an enclosed area.  Generators are sources of carbon monoxide which may be lethal in higher concentrations.

By preparing in advance of inclement weather, you’ll be able to stock up on the necessary supplies while avoiding the madhouse at your local grocery story on the eve of the storm. Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us? We love to hear from you.

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.

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