Rayshell Clapper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
From June 1 to November 30 of each year, the Atlantic hurricane season flexes its muscles. In an effort to help keep people alive and safe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a Hurricane Preparedness website that is full of great information to help with hurricane health and safety. The CDC provides important tips to help before, during, and after a hurricane.
The first tip is to prepare for a hurricane. If you live in a place that could be hit, it is best to prepare now rather than wait for a hurricane to be imminent. Before a hurricane, the CDC identifies two steps: make a plan and get supplies. In making a plan, the CDC gives these readiness suggestions:
• Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them near every phone in the house, pin them to the refrigerator, and program them into cell phones.
• Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure every family member knows where it is and how to use it.
• Find out where the nearest shelter is located. Don’t forget to learn different routes to get there.
• Ensure everyone knows the sound of the warning sirens in the area and what to do when they go off.
• Stock up on emergency supplies.
The second step in preparing for a hurricane consists of getting supplies. These supplies consist of the following according to another CDC hurricane preparedness webpage:
Food and Medicine
• Clean containers for water
• At least 5 gallons of water per person (which should be enough to last 3 to 5 days)
• A 3 to 5 day supply of food that doesn’t go bad (like canned food)
• Baby food or formula
• Prescription medicines
• First aid kit and instructions
• Fire extinguisher
• Battery-powered radio
• Extra batteries
• Sleeping bags or extra blankets
• Supplies to make drinking water safe (like iodine tablets or chlorine bleach)
Personal Care Products
• Hand sanitizer
• Wet cleaning cloths (like baby wipes) in case you don’t have clean water
• Tampons and pads
Make sure your supplies are stored together in a place that’s easy to reach.
Make an Emergency Car Kit
In case you need to leave quickly during a hurricane, always keep an emergency kit in your car, too. Make sure you include:
• Food that doesn’t go bad (like canned food)
• Jumper cables (sometimes called booster cables)
• Tools, like a roadside emergency kit
• first aid kit and instructions
• A fire extinguisher
• Sleeping bags
• Flashlight and extra batteries
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Once you have prepared for a hurricane, you need to prepare to evacuate and also know what to do if ordered not to evacuate. If ordered to evacuate, you first need to take only what you really need like cell phones, medications, identification, and cash. Of course, a good idea is to prepare a little box of stuff before the notice to evacuate comes so that it is easier to grab everything you will need. Plus, if there is something sentimental you want to take them, then it should be readily available as well. If you have time before evacuating, try to turn off the gas, electricity, water, and unplug all appliances. Do not do this unless there is enough time. When evacuating, it is also important to make sure to have a car emergency kit. Always follow the roads that the emergency workers recommend in order to stay safe. Do not veer even if there is traffic and only change routes if instructed.
For those ordered not to evacuate, the CDC gives several tips to help people stay safe.
1. Keep listening to the radio, TV, or internet for updates
2. Stay inside until an official message comes through that the hurricane is over.
3. Avoid windows.
4. Be careful.
5. Be ready to leave.
After a hurricane, the CDC identifies several tips for safety. First of all, be safe inside by never using electrical devices if they get wet. Use flashlights instead of candles and make sure that all lit candles are watched and not near anything that can catch fire. If any unusual noises start, you should leave your home or building immediately because they may be about to fall. Additionally, the CDC says to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by not using gas or coal-burning equipment inside, not running vehicles in a garage, not using a gas oven for heat, and leaving the house if the carbon monoxide detector starts beeping.
Beyond safety inside the house after a hurricane, you need to be safe outside as well. The first tip is to keep away from floodwater. Floodwater can be deeper than it looks, so even if driving, you should always go around it. Floodwater often carries germs as well, so be sure to wash up if you get wet. Use soap and water, alcohol-based wipes, or sanitizer. Beyond floodwaters, you should avoid power lines and dangerous materials. Finally, be sure to protect yourself from animals and pests. Wild or stray animals can be dangerous, especially after a storm. Any dead animal should be reported. Floods can also bring mosquitoes that carry disease.
Once the storm is over and the shock has worn off, the final tip from the CDC is to clean up the home if needed. It is important to wear safety gear both for cleaning up debris and for cleaning up mold and bacteria. Disinfect everything, especially toys for children. Finally, pace yourself during clean up because it might be a big job.
Hurricane season happens every year, so it is important to be prepared. Hurricanes are dangerous, so the more prepared you are, the more likely you will stay safe before, during, and after the hurricane.