Tick, tick, tick…hear that? Those are the seconds passing as we approach June 1 – the start of Hurricane season.
By whatever name, tropical storms such as hurricanes are the most deadly storms known to man. As such, we don’t treat this season as a kick-off to a popular sports game; we treat it with respect and awe. And we prepare.
This year, NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) – from its Miami Oceanographic & Metrological laboratory – predicts a rather normal hurricane season.
They went on to say, [there’s a 70% chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those, one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5).
Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.]
Oh good. It’s nice to know the predictions aren’t forecasting doom and gloom, but:
Anyone who’s ever lived in Miami and adjacent areas know storm predictions – many times – don’t follow the best guess by the best experts. These titanic storms tend to be unpredictable. So, the wise course of action is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Having said that, here are some helpful guidelines provided by the AAA – they may help you in getting prepared.
- Establish a key contact, preferably someone out of state, that everyone can check in with.
- Determine a location to meet in case your family gets separated
- Make sure family members have important emergency numbers
- Know where your emergency supplies and first aid kits are
- (Very important) Identify the safest room in the house
- Think about the possible dangers that could affect your family including floods, wind damage, etc. If you can find ways to lessen the damage such as with wind mitigation adjustments to the roof, windows or doors consider doing so. You might also be eligible for an insurance premium reduction on some of the wind mitigation precautions you take
- Teach family members how to turn off the gas, electricity and water
- Determine where you’ll go and the fastest route if evacuated. If it’s a shelter, make sure it can accommodate any special needs you or your family members might have
- If you receive home care, include caregivers in your plans, and check with the home health service that provides your care about their emergency plan
- Have a pet emergency plan since many shelters won’t accept pets due to potential health and space issues. Try contacting your local humane society for animal-friendly shelters. Because many pets get lost in a hurricane, it’s good idea to double check your pets’ identification tags to make sure they’re up to date and secure.
Details to consider
- Get your supplies ready at the start of the season – enough for at least three days. An emergency checklist always helps with this process
- Draft an emergency contact list
- Pets: Keep the number for your local animal shelter handy in your emergency contact list
- Know your Miami-Dade evacuation routes
- Know your Miami-Dade evacuation centers
- Create your household inventory before this storm season – it’s a good way to know if you need to evaluate your insurance coverage. Plus, should you need to make a claim after a storm, your household inventory can reduce the time it takes to get your claim paid
- It’s a smart idea to use your point-and-shoot camera or video camera and take photos of your possessions and store them in a safe place (i.e. fireproof, waterproof safe, etc.)
- Insurance Policies: Locate all your insurance policies and have them handy
- Get yourself some Walkie Talkies – cell phones won’t do you any good if the tower is down
- Keep your car in working order:
- Check your oil and filter; change if needed
- Test battery charge and charge or replace battery if necessary
- Add air or replace the spare tire
- Replace windshield wiper blades and add washer fluids
- Make sure your coolant is topped off
The clock’s ticking guys and gals. Stay safe this season and be prepared.