Tips for Staying Safe During a Hurricane
‘Tis the season for rainy weather, high winds and of course–hurricanes. As Hurricane Ian pushes closer to the west coast of Florida, we, along with hundreds of thousands of others in the Tampa Bay area, are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. So while normal life is temporarily paused, here are some tips for staying safe during a hurricane.
Obey evacuation orders
Counties along the Gulf have already started issuing evacuation orders for over 300,000 residents in the Tampa Bay area. While it is unlikely that officials will physically force you out of your home, it’s ill-advised to ignore the warnings. Here’s a short write up from the Pasco County Department of Emergency Management regarding local evacuation orders.
Life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds are expected to impact Pasco County later this week. You must evacuate if one or more of the following applies to you:
You live in Evacuation Zone A
You live in a manufactured home, mobile home or RV anywhere in Pasco
You live in a low-lying area or an area prone to flooding
You live in a structure that historically has experienced flooding during heavy rainfall
You’re in an area ordered evacuated by local authorities due to life-safety hazards
You can find out more about disaster preparedness maps, including evacuation zones, routes, and shelters on FloridaDisaster.org.
Anchor down outside furniture & clear yard debris
High winds like those that accompany tropical storms and hurricanes cause are often responsible for injury and destruction because of what they pick up and knock over. While it is impossible to secure large foliage and other large fallen matter, you should take care to lessen the potentially destructive impact by anchoring down outside furniture such as tables, umbrellas, chairs and garbage cans, etc, and by removing small yard debris. Here’s what Weather.Gov says about high winds:
A high wind warning is issued when sustained winds of 40 mph or greater or gusts to 58 mph or greater are expected. High winds can cause downed trees and power lines, flying debris and building collapses, which may lead to power outages, transportation disruptions, damage to buildings and vehicles, and injury or death.
Stock up on essentials
Though not everyone will have access to a gas-powered generator, in the event that you are stuck and cannot leave or do not have access to amenities including power and water, you should be prepared with a disaster supply kit. A kit should include plenty of bottled water, non-perishable foods, a first-aid kit and hand crank flashlights and radios–to name only a few key items.
It’s important to note that waiting until the last minute to get these items is not ideal as stores will likely be sold out. Make sure that your essentials are easily accessible (not tucked away in a hard-to-reach area) in the event of a disaster. FloridaDisaster.org has a Disaster Supply Kit Checklist that will help you decide what you need to get.
Flood waters, rip currents, and downed powerlines are a few hazards that are commonly seen in hurricane disasters even after the initial storm has passed. It is especially important to not swim or wade in flood water as it can introduce you your skin to sewer-infested pathogens such as tetanus. Floods are also known to be a leading cause of sinkholes. Avoiding areas with such hazards is advised until it has been declared safe by authorities.
Hurricane season is one time of the year that brings lots of uncertainty. Will there be any hurricanes? If so, how bad will they be? Where will they hit? Will your home be affected? While there is no crystal ball to offer us these answers, what we can know ahead of time is what our hurricane plan is.
Maybe that means you will purchase flood insurance for the year, or during the months of June through November you stay with family farther inland, or perhaps it means you will have to sandbag your front door and get the dead tree outside cut down earlier in the season so it doesn’t fall on your house–you get what we’re saying.
Because everyone’s situation is so uniquely different, having an individualized household plan is a necessity in the event of a disaster. Remember, it’s never too early to plan ahead.
To find more tips on hurricane preparedness and safety, be sure to utilize the resources provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and we hope to see you back soon at Morganna’s Alchemy!
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!