FRIDAY, JUNE 1: Today is the first day of the 2012 hurricane season and if you aren’t already prepared now is definitely the time. Although the 2012 hurricane season is predicted to see a near normal level of activity I urge everyone to still be prepared for the worst.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for this storm season.
First, prepare for a hurricane far in advance of one arriving.
Assemble a hurricane emergency kit and include the following; non-perishable food, a hand operated can opener, bottled water (it is recommended to have a five to seven day supply of food and water for every member of the family, including pets), first aid supplies, prescription medicines, any special health care items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members, baby wipes and personal hygiene products, flashlights, battery operated radio and extra batteries, hand sanitizer, pet food and supplies, candles, matches, a bucket and rope for dipping water, books and toys for children and cash in the event that banks are not open and you don’t have access to a ATM.
Additionally, have a supply of plastic garbage bags with ties, paper plates, cups and utensils and some basic tools — nails, a hammer, a screwdriver, work gloves and a disposable camera to take pictures of damage for insurance purposes.
Communication will be vital. Charge your cellphones, have extra charged batteries on hand and invest in a car charger.
Fully assess your property and have on hand items that you may need before, during and after a hurricane so that you can avoid last minute supply shopping — you don’t end up paying more because of limited supplies. I encourage everyone to have a well stocked emergency kit in your home and a smaller version in your car (please see our web-site for a suggested list of emergency supplies, www.ca.gov.bm).
If you are fortunate enough to have lots of storage at home, I would also suggest keeping on hand plywood to cover sliding doors and large windows that don’t have shutters. You should have on hand tarpaulin, a propane portable camping stove or grill, a fire extinguisher, a very long extension cord and a good sized ice chest. Certainly if you can afford it and have room to store it a portable generator is a handy piece of equipment to have on hand. Oh, and have a plan for your car — have a designated spot to park your car so that it’s not damaged during the hurricane.
Think back to Hurricane Fabian from 2003 and ask yourself:
- What did I wish I had on hand during and after Fabian that I didn’t have — it may be something as simple as rope?
- What damage was caused to my yard and house and what do I need to do to prevent this from happening again?
- How long was I out of electricity and/or water and how can I prepare for this to happen again, or be even worse?
- What neighbour had the worst difficulty and how can I assist them to prepare for a better outcome next time?
I’d rather find myself with a good hurricane emergency plan, adequate supplies and no hurricane than to be caught in a hurricane with no plan or supplies. Now is the time to prepare.
Remember, have an emergency plan prepared, a sensibly stocked emergency kit and don’t forget to assist elderly friends, family and neighbours who may be alone. n
For more hurricane preparation information see supplement in this paper, also visit the Consumer Affairs web-site, www.ca.gov.bm.
Honey Adams is the education officer for the office of Consumer Affairs.