If you’ve been watching the news over the last few days, then you know Hurricane Irma is taking aim at the East Coast. Though meteorologists still don’t know exactly where she will make landfall, it’s best to start your Hurricane Irma preparation now – just to be on the safe side. Here are the things you should be doing right now.
Listening to the News and Weather
The first step in Hurricane Irma preparation involves paying close attention to the news and weather. As the hours pass, meteorologists get a better picture of the storm, its strength, and where it’s most likely to make landfall. Because all these things are so important to your safety and preparation, be sure to check often, and take warnings seriously. Even though Florida hasn’t had a major hurricane in decades, Irma could be devastating. Prepare yourself for the worst now, and even if she stays out at sea, you will enjoy peace of mind.
Organizing Your Disaster/Emergency Kit
Now is a great time to organize and plan your disaster and emergency kit. Food and water are vital. Remember to save one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene. You will also need enough food to feed everyone three meals a day. FEMA recommends keeping enough food and water for at least three days, but many families store enough supplies for a week to be safe. Aside from this, you might also consider items like:
- Flashlights with extra batteries;
- Radios with extra batteries;
- Emergency cell phone with an extra battery (fully charged);
- Necessary medications;
- A fully-stocked first aid kit;
- Towels, baby wipes, and garbage bags for personal sanitation and hygiene;
- Can openers and utensils;
- A laminated list of emergency contact numbers; and
- Important documents (titles, deeds, birth certificates, Social Security cards, IDs, insurance cards) in a water-tight container.
Planning for Evacuation
One of the most important parts of Hurricane Irma preparation is your evacuation plan. The best way to do this is to determine how far from the coast you should evacuate, then staying in a hotel, with a friend, or with a relative until the storm has passed. This is not possible for everyone, however. If this is the case for you, look for local shelters providing emergency relief or busses that may be carrying residents to shelters in other locations. Remember to bring important items such as your documents, cash, credit and debit cards, IDs, and anything else you may need. You should never ignore mandatory evacuation orders from the governor. These are only issued under serious and dangerous conditions.
Hurricane Irma preparation takes time, so start now and prepare early for the best outcome. In the event of a mandatory evacuation, follow your plan. Otherwise, stay calm and follow recommendations provided by FEMA, the Red Cross, and local authorities during and after the hurricane. This is the best way to ensure your safety and allow officials to do their jobs, too.