Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Season

As hurricane season begins on June 1st and last through the end of November, I think back on two events that I am a little too familiar with, Hugo and Andrew. Although several others impacted me, I was close to the damage these two caused and was part of the cleanup effort after Hugo while living in South Carolina.

I want to give you some information that I received from a weekly news bulletin that was created for Medical Emergency Preparedness teams. You will note the alert for Hurricane Issac but the information is relevant for each season. The links provide great information as well.

These are great tips even if you aren’t in a Hurricane zone. You may even need to pass it along to someone who is. Be safe!

From the notice:

As you know our area is under threat of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Issac which is forecast to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast early next Wednesday morning. Just as we are make plans here at the hospital in case of a disaster, it is important that you also plan now for where your family and loved ones will go if they cannot stay safely at home. This advance preparation will allow us all to focus on meeting the needs of our patients and their families should you be required to be at the hospital before, during or after the storm.

Remember, West Florida Hospital is not an evacuation shelter. If at all possible, make every effort for your family to evacuate to a safe place. Your family and pets will be more comfortable in a less crowded environment among other family members and friends. However, as a last report  accommodations at the hospital will be made available for families of our storm team if no other arrangements can be made. For Escambia County shelter information, go to the following website: http://www.bereadyescambia.com/?g=tropical-storm-hurricane/shelters/maps; for Santa Rosa County shelter information, go to: http://www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency/shelters.html

If there are no other major developments with the storm with regard to our area, our net communication will be Monday morning, August 27th.

Personal Readiness Checklist:

  • Prepare a plan to keep your family safe
  • Identify two escape routes from each room of your home
  • Designate family meeting places near home and outside your neighborhood
  • Choose an emergency contact person outside your area
  • Create emergency contact cards for each family member
  • Talk to your neighbors and develop and community plan
  • Request a copy of your children’s school emergency plans
  • Create a backup plan for your children in case you can’t get home
  • Teach your children to dial 9-1-1
  • Have at least one traditionally-wired landline phone
  • Assemble mess kits, plates, cups, plastic utensils, flashlight, batter-powered radio, extra batteries
  • Assemble toilet paper, towelettes, soap, liquid detergent, chlorine bleach, disinfectant
  • Assemble plastic sheeting, duct tape, whistle, map of area

RECOMMENDED ITEMS TO INCLUDE IN A BASIC EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT

  • Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Plywood for windows
  • Tarps
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Firs-aid kit
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps

ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO CONSIDER ADDING TO AN EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT

  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Emergency reference material, such as a first aid book or information fro www.ready.gov
  • Sleeping bag
  • Complete change of clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
  • Household liquid chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
    • As a disinfectant: 9 parts water to 1 part bleach
    • Water treatment: 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water (do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Personal hygiene items, including feminine supplies
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Deck of cards <- ADDED BY ME

OTHER IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Fill your vehicles up with gas
  • If you have a generator, be sure to store extra gas in safe containers (you may need a fuel additive depending on length of storage <- NOTE ADDED BY ME)
  • Keep your cell phones charged (text may be only means of communication <- NOTE ADDED BY ME)
  • Stay calm – it will help others around you do the same

That’s it. Stay safe and prepared.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive