EASTON — While we are still focused on boating, vacationing, and cookouts, it is important to recognize that hurricane season (June 1 — November 30) started. The last several years demonstrate an increase in natural disasters both in frequency and severity. So, investing time, thought, and resources to proactively prepare for this is a wise decision.
Last year was a busy hurricane season, with 30 named storms. Of these, 13 reached hurricane strength--and half of these achieved Category 3 wind speeds or higher. This was the second most significant hurricane season since 2005. Multiple weather forecasters project an increased probability of hurricane landfalls this season. According to WeatherBELL Analytics, this year’s hurricane season could foment 16-22 named tropical storms, with 9-13 becoming hurricanes--and 3-6 could reach major hurricane status.
Hurricanes affect more than just the coastal regions. The tremendous force of a hurricane creates phenomenal kinetic energy generating storm surge and rip currents along the coast, as well as inland flooding due to heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and strong winds. All this corollary storm activity results in damage from flooding, wind damage, and power outages.
No matter what natural or manmade disaster may occur, a great resource is www.ready.gov. Bookmark this site and visit it to learn how to prepare for a multitude of potential natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
So, here are 6 keys to ensure you are ready for the unexpected:
• Make an emergency plan. Prepare what you will do if you need to evacuate. Know how to secure your home and maintain a “go bag” with essential clothes, food, and medicine. Always keep enough cash on hand to buy gas and food on the road, as many times credit card systems may not be operational. Visit www.reenwaterman.com/resources, for useful information to develop your plan.
• Prepare a “Shelter-in-Place” Plan. Consider purchasing a generator and stocking up on food, water, and medications. If you have a basement with an outside entry, ensure that the drain is clear of leaves so your basement does not flood. Do not forget to consider the elderly and pets in both your evacuation and shelter-in-place plans.
• Plan your escape route. Learn primary and alternate evacuation routes. Practice taking these routes. Keep your vehicles topped off with gasoline. Do not count on finding a hotel room in a time of natural disaster, so it is vital to discuss in advance with friends or out-of-town relatives, a plan for staying with them in case of an evacuation. Offer them reciprocity as well in case they need to evacuate from their area.
• Have a Business Continuation Plan. Establish a plan to let employees off in time to take care of their family. Develop a strategy for dealing with customers if you are delayed from returning. Stockpile necessary supplies in case of a supply chain disruption.
• Help your neighbors. Meet with neighbors to discuss how you can help each other, whether you plan to evacuate or shelter in place. Discuss purchasing survival foods in bulk to reduce individual costs. Create a community phone chain and disaster recovery plan.
• NEVER drive through flooded areas. No matter what vehicle you own, DO NOT drive through flooded areas as you will endanger your life and those of family members as well as the first responders sent to rescue you.
Start today and begin implementing advance preparations to protect your property and the lives of you and your loved ones. It is easy to procrastinate or assume this will never affect you. But resist this urge. Choose to prepare today.