Hurricane season is upon us once again. Miami Dade County has compiled a hurricane preparedness guide for us; Here is a breakdown of the important things you need to know.
Let’s start with the basics-terms you need to know: A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible within 48 hours. A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected within 36 hours. A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible within 48 hours. A Hurricane Warning means hurricane conditions with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected within 36 hours in advance of the onset of tropical-storm force winds.
You should prepare NOW…don’t wait until there is word of a storm heading our way. Trim down trees, clean up debris in your yard, stock up on non-perishable items like bottled water and canned goods. The idea is that once a hurricane warning is issued, most of your preparations should be towards your home (putting up shutters and securing patio furniture, etc).
Once a warning is issued there are a few things you need to take care of. Charge all cell phones and keep a corded phone handy. Take some cash out from the bank. Make sure to fill all your cars up with gas and get enough fuel to power generators and other gas-powered tools (before the gas stations run out!). Be sure to protect your electronics with power surge protectors . Don’t forget your pets- make sure you have enough food and water for them as well. If you own a boat, use double lines at a marina, or consider dry-dock storage.
Some areas require a Mandatory Evacuation, here is where they are and what they mean. If you are required to evacuate, make sure to bring the following with you- water, snacks, prescription and emergency medications, bedding, infant and child care, extra clothes, comfort materials such as cards or a book.
During the storm, stay in a “safe room” ( a room with no windows or doors) and monitor your tv or radio for instructions from public safety officials. If you lose power, turn off all major appliances. Instead of candles, use flashlights as your light source. Make sure pets are inside with you.
After the storm, stay inside until authorities have given the all clear. Don’t drive or walk through standing water. Stay away from downed power lines and report them to FPL.
Hurricanes are part of the trade off we get by living in such a tropical paradise. As long as we are prepared and pay attention to our public safety officials, we will get through them. The key is being prepared and monitoring the storms.