Get ready for hurricane season | Environment
One of the most difficult and frustrating aspects about a tornado is our inability to predict its strength, speed, time of arrival and path of destruction well before it happens. We can do our best to protect ourselves the day of, however, as we have sadly seen on April 27 and now throughout the Midwest, that isn’t enough.
Hurricanes, on the other hand, afford people the “luxury” of being able to forecast its destruction. To that end, President Obama has declared May 22 through 28 National Hurricane Preparedness Week, when he urges Americans to “take time to plan for the storm before it begins.”
While Birmingham isn’t a prime target for hurricanes, central Alabama still faces danger due to our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. The outer bands of a strong storm can produce high winds, severe thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes—enough of a reason to be prepared well ahead of time.
The National Hurricane Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and FEMA recommend taking specific steps to make sure if you and your home are threatened by a hurricane or other strong storm, you are as safe as possible.
1. Develop a family plan: This includes knowing what factors your home is vulnerable to (whether it be strong winds, flooding, etc.), determine an escape route, stock non-perishable items and emergency supplies and make sure your weather radio is working.
2. Create a disaster supply kit: This is like a “go bag,” good enough to sustain you and your family for several days—whether its stocked in your garage or laundry room—have a designated place for 1 gallon of water daily per person for 3 to 7 days, first aid kit with medicine and prescription drugs, hygiene items, batteries, flashlights and extra batteries for cell phones. See what else they recommend in this kit.
3. Have somewhere to go: If you are ordered to evacuate, don’t take that as an option—Go! Make arrangements ahead of time to stay with family or friends, be prepared to wait in traffic and fill up your car with gas.
4. Secure your home: Protecting your home from wind is the most important thing you can do. Be sure to reinforce your roof, windows, doors and garage doors.
5. Have a pet plan: Have a current picture of your pet, outfit them with a collar with identification information, have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal and make sure that if you evacuate, wherever you’re going accepts pets.