By Norma J. Goodwin, MD, President, Health
The hurricane season is here, so as we watch and wait, there’s still time to get you and your family prepared for what could be the next major hurricane.
Since I’m a National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) Thought Leader and the storm and hurricane season is here, I thought I should share some key safety tips with our Health Power audience. Also, all NAACP members and friends should know about their special Emergency Preparedness project. Specifically, the NAACP, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has developed an Emergency Management webpage, which details key information, resources and contacts needed to help you prepare for and recover from a storm or other emergency.
Getting Ready for a Hurricane or Major Storm: In the event a hurricane makes landfall in your geographic zone, or area, here are some points for you, nearby friends and relatives to act on in advance:
Communication is Key
- Sign up with your local Emergency Management Agency to get emergency alerts.
- Know the evacuation route should local authorities say it’s time to leave the area.
- Monitor local and social media for updates and critical information about the storm.
Get Ready to Brave the Storm
- Prepare an emergency kit with at least three days of essential food, water and supplies for everyone in the family, including pets.
- Make a personal Go Bag of supplies for everyone in the house, should you need to evacuate immediately.
- Check the batteries in all flashlights, radios and medical equipment. It’s also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
- Clear the area around your home of anything that can be blown around by the wind.
- Set your refrigerator up to the coldest setting and limit going into the fridge and freezer to keep them cold.
- Head to the ATM now for cash on hand in case of loss of electricity. And while you’re out, gas up at least one of the vehicles in your home.
Recovering After the Storm
- Continue monitoring the news and emergency alerts for possible continued rainfall and any flooding in your area.
- In a power outage DO NOT use a generator inside your home. NPHIC has provided useful information on how to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Use protective clothing, footwear and gloves for cleanup.
- If it’s necessary for you to walk or drive, remember the saying, turn around, don’t drown. If you come to high water or flooded road turn around and find another route.
- Should you find your home is not safe to stay in, look for local shelters or other lodging that will most likely be set up by local authorities or charitable organizations.
When it comes to preparing for a hurricane, there is such a thing as too late. You can help ease the stress and loss from any emergency by simply planning ahead.
Be safe and well, and remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!®