After the damage of Hurricane Irma, the residents of The Villages® Community needed to learn to prepare better from possible devastation and do all that we can to improve our hurricane response. However, there's only so much control when it comes to natural disasters, so remaining vigilant during hurricane season is vital. Just like anything else in life, education and preparation are key.
According to NASA, Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth, and peak season is from June 1st to November 30th. They're fueled by just two ingredients; heat and water. With warmer waters and lower pressures (the higher of which would typically trap and cool potential hurricanes, condensing their swirling vortex into clouds), we’re now seeing more destructive storms.
Here’s a list of what you should keep on hand:
- reusable ice packs/sheets
- bungee cords & tarps
- a first aid kit
- containers of clean water – several days’ worth for both humans and pets
- non-perishable food such as peanut butter, nuts, beef jerky, breakfast bars, dried fruit, oatmeal packets, cans of coffee, Gatorade, cracker & cheese packs, soup, chili – and maybe a little wine!
- extra pet supplies
You can also get battery operated fans or misting fans (Ryobi and others offer long-lasting options which you can recharge in your car with the appropriate cord), solar charging kits, generators, and more.
The Red Cross offers a variety of items for your Disaster Kit, including sandless sandbags, a hand crank/solar charged emergency weather radio with a phone charger, Lifewater filtering straws, and bath wipes, to name a few.
You should prepare by:
- pruning dead or weak tree branches
- get your medication refills done ahead of time
- clear and store all loose outdoor items, potted plants, and patio furniture
- put your relevant documents into waterproof containers
- secure your valuables
- have a plan for your pets (and enough food, water, and medication for them)
- register with the appropriate emergency management office if you are physically challenged or have special medical issues
charge your phone and devices
- make sure your car has plenty of gasoline. In the event of a power failure, the gas pumps won’t work. Neither will the ATMs. Automatic locks and garage door openers will fail as well. Make sure you have alternate entry access.
- make sure you have flood insurance (which isn’t automatically covered in homeowner’s insurance) and check your hurricane coverage
- set up a buddy system or network with friends and neighbors
You should have a plan. If you’re going to evacuate, where will you go? The roads and airports will be crowded, so you must have a destination.
If you don’t plan to evacuate, will you go to a shelter? Will you need a pet-friendly shelter, which is very limited and on a first-come, first-served basis? Do you have a safe room? If you’re in a Zone A or B, do you have someone in a higher zone you can stay with?
We urge you not to delay. Hurricanes will not wait for us to get prepared, and in an emergency, necessities run out rapidly, and things happen fast. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
If we plan for the worst and hope for the best, things usually work out better than expected. Plan and prepare now.