Some disasters strike without any warning and family members may not all be in the same place. How will you get in touch with each other? Where will you meet? How will you get out of your house in case of a fire? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated?
September is recognized as National Preparedness Month which serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit. Due to the success of last year’s theme, “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” returns this year, with a continuing emphasis on preparedness for youth, older adults, and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
The campaign makes an emergency preparedness resolution easy to keep by recommending families consider these three ideas when making a plan: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
Hurricane Season underway
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from mid-August through mid-October, hurricane activity spikes, accounting for 78 percent of the tropical storm days, 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days and a whopping 96 percent of the major (category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days. On Aug. 16, NOAA increased its hurricane forecast for the 2016 season. Forecasters now expect a 70-percent chance of 12–17 named storms, of which 5–8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes. The initial outlook called for 10–16 named storms, 4–8 hurricanes, and 1–4 major hurricanes. The seasonal averages are 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
While major hurricanes infrequently make landfall in Harford County, Maryland, tropical storms and the aftereffects of hurricanes and their associated flooding remain a threat for the region. Prepare now for hurricane season before inclement weather arrives.
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
- Put together a disaster supply kit,including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
- If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Make a family emergency communication plan.
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.
Preparing your home
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
For more hurricane safety information, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.