ARE YOU READY FOR A HURRICANE?
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November each year. The peak of the season is between mid-August until late October. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage by creating heavy rains and fl ying debris. Flash fl ooding generally also occurs.
The Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division would like to give you preparation tips in case a hurricane is forecast for our area.
Here are some preparation ideas to help you get ready if a hurricane is on the way:
1. Make an emergency plan.
How do you contact family members who may not be with you during an emergency? Identify a friend or another family member that lives out-of-state to be the family contact person. Make sure the kids know names and telephone numbers or put this information directly into their phones. It is usually easier to make long-distance phone calls during emergencies than to make a local call. Text messages or tweets may also get through network disruptions when telephone calls cannot.
2. Prepare a basic supply kit. Some necessary items would be:
• Water, one gallon per person per day for at least three days. It is recommended to use commercially bottled water.
• Food, at least a three-day supply of food that your family will eat. Following a storm, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock foods that do not require cooking, special preparation or refrigeration. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils. Some suggested food items would be canned meats, fruits and vegetables; protein or fruit bars; dry cereal or granola; peanut butter; dried fruit; nuts; crackers, canned juices; and dried or canned milk. Remember, choose items that you know your family will eat. This would not be the time to try new foods!
• If you have pets, make sure that you include water and food for them as well.
• A battery-powered radio and flashlight, remember the extra batteries!
• A first-aid kit. Remember to regularly check the expiration dates on all the items in your first-aid kit. Items to include might be: sterile dressings to stop bleeding; cleansing soap or antibiotic towelettes; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; at least two pairs of sterile gloves; thermometer; aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever; antacid; scissors and tweezers. You may also need to include other prescribed medical supplies for a family member, such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.
• Medications for each family member or pet. Once you hear a storm is coming, check to make sure you have a suffi cient amount of medicine to last through the storm and recovery period.
• A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities. Locate the shut-off valves for your utilities before any emergency happens.
• Cell phones with car chargers, inverter or solar charger.
Don’t wait until a storm is coming to test your plan. Test your plan periodically. That way, you can make necessary changes before the storm arrives and feel confi dent that your plan is sufficient to keep your family safe.
A few extra tips to keep you and your family safe during hurricanes:
• If you lose power, use flashlights instead of candles, which pose a significant fire hazard.
• If you must travel, use caution and allow plenty of distance from other vehicles. Never drive through standing water. The currents in the water can become strong very quickly and carry the vehicle a long distance before stopping. Make sure you have your cell phone to call help if you become stranded.
Adequate planning for emergencies will help your family feel safer and more prepared. For additional information, visit www.ready.gov.
This is a monthly column written by employees of the Guilford County Department of Public Health. If you have suggestions for future articles, please call 336-641-3292.