Everyone faces the possibility of various forms of disasters depending on their regions. Hurricanes are one of the most widespread possibilities and fortunately occur with warning, unlike most disasters. All the same, you should be prepared in advance and make sure that your clients are as well if you live in areas that hurricanes are a possibility. As this year’s hurricane season wraps up in November, now is the time to make sure you are prepared and start thinking about next year as well.
Stay tuned to www.NOAA.org keeping up with current hurricanes condition
Having a plan for what you will do when a hurricane is bearing down on your town is the most important thing you can do. Everyone in your area will be buying supplies, rushing to prepare and trying to make decisions on what to do next. If you are ready in advance and know what you will be doing, you can give yourself critical time to take care of as much as possible before the storm makes landfall. Here are some of the most important measures you can take to prepare for a hurricane:
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- If you don’t already have one prepare an emergency kit, this needs to include toys, food, water, first aid for both human and pets. Don’t forget their bedding, leashes, cat litter, trash bags……..
- Have a family communication plans including where to meet if you are separated.
- Know your surroundings and evacuations routes and have more than one. If the authorities are advising evacuation, leave immediately. Don’t Wait! You could be trapped.
- Learn the elevation level of your property including flood-prone lands. Know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you or to an escape route.
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground and determine where you would go for high grounds, and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
Once you know exactly what you will do in the event of a possible hurricane, the next step is to make plans to secure your property. You may not have much time to batten down the hatches once you are certain you are in the path of the storm. Having a list of things that you will need to be done will help you get them accomplished rapidly. These are some of the most important tasks to tackle before the storm:
- Cover all of your home’s windows either by boarding them up with 5/8″ marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit and ready to install or by permanent storm shutters, these offer the best protection for windows. Tape will not prevent windows from breaking.
- To reduce roof damage Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors because wind entering your garage can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- If you own a boat, determine how and where to secure it.
- Install a generator for emergencies just in case you lose power.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
- Consider building a safe room, someplace where everyone will be safe from any broken glass or debris.
- Make sure EVERY HUMAN and PET has documentation, especially to show that you are the owners of those pet and they pets are current on shots. Gather up the documents and take them with you.
- Find pet friendly places to stay if you need to evacuate.
Having an advanced plan for the possibility of a hurricane can give you the extra time that you need to get everything prepped and give you the best chance of weathering the storm. You don’t want to find yourself in position to have to leave things behind and in disarray. The last thing you should do is leave your pets behind, which could endanger their lives. If you have a plan in place you will not find yourself panicked and scrambling to get things together. Instead you can prepare for the worst and if necessary, get your family and pets to a safe place.
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE THE PETS BEHIND, THERE LIVES CAN BE PUT INTO DANGER WITHOUT YOU.
Joyce Rheal is Emergency Planning Committee chairwoman of the National Association Professional Pet Sitters and with Pets-life. Joyce is also a federally certified for FEMA’s “Animals in Disasters” program, and a certified pet care consultant based in Southern Illinois.