by Hannah Geiser, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
The 2019 hurricane season got off to an early start with the arrival of subtropical storm Andrea which formed off the coast of west-southwest Bermuda. From now until the end of November, the risk of hurricane formation is at its highest. In 2018 the Atlantic saw above-average hurricane activity and named storms, meaning it’s more important than ever to set precautions in place to protect your family; whether you live near the coast or not. Here are some essential safety tips to help you stay prepared during hurricane season.
Know Your Risk
Research your area’s hurricane risk, frequency, and severity. The past several years have shown unprecedented growth in tropical storm activity, so plan for more events than the previous year. Remember subsequent flooding is common after hurricanes makes landfall so it’s best to include the risk in your emergency plans.
Create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets. Map your evacuation route ahead of time, and make sure everyone in your home knows what the procedure is in event of an emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Kit
Keep a bag of survival essentials on hand in an easily accessible place. Be sure to consider the needs of your household when adding supplies to your kit such as pet, medical, and baby supplies. To learn more about what to include in your kit, click here.
Secure Your Documents
Keep paper document such as birth certificates, insurance policies, and other valuables in a safe place less likely to be damaged by floods. A waterproof safe or deposit box can assure that you have access to your documents in the event your home is damaged in a storm. Make sure to scan additional copies of your important files and carry them on a flash drive as an extra precaution.
Download the App
Ensure that you and your family members download the free Red Cross ‘Emergency’ app for iPhone or Android. You can monitor and track hazards on a live map, set customizable weather alerts, find shelter and learn more about how to prepare for a weather event. You can also text “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999 to receive the link to download.
How to Help
Even if you are not personally at-risk during hurricane season, here are some steps you can take to help before disaster strikes:
- Become a disaster volunteer with the American Red Cross to assist those affected by disaster big and small.
- Communicate with coastal friend and family to make sure they are properly prepared.
- Know if your county is near an evacuation area and what that means for your community.
- Download the Red Cross Emergency App to stay informed of all weather emergencies.