Preparing for the 2018 Hurricane Season: How to Make an Emergency Plan
Forecastors at the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project (CSU), a leading authority on the topic are predicting another busy hurricane season – slightly above historical averages. Prepare for the 2018 hurricane season by making an emergency plan.
There are four key components to an emergency plan. These include:
- Determine how to stay updated on the latest emergency alerts and warnings.
- Prepare a shelter plan – Create an in-home shelter plan and an off-site shelter plan.
- Map out the best evacuation route so you can leave quickly should you need to.
- Make a family/household communication plan.
Stay Updated on the Latest Emergency Alerts and Warnings
Hurricane-related Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, or even the President of the United States. WEAs look similar to text messages on your cell phone but usually have a unique sound and vibration, repeated twice. They are usually short messages and will include: the type and time of the alert, instructions on any action you should take, and which agency issued the alert.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system. During an emergency it broadcasts alerts via satellite providers, cable television systems, etc. to communicate emergency information to the public. You can find additional information about the National Emergency Alert System (EAS) on the FEMA website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. Visit www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/ to learn more about the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards network and to find a network station in your area.
Create an Emergency Shelter Plan
Communicating during an emergency can often be difficult if not impossible. To help keep your loved ones safe, you should put at least two emergency shelter plans in place: a plan for sheltering in place in your home, and a plan for evacuating to a nearby shelter.
Sheltering in Place
Often the best option for finding shelter is staying right where you are. Designate an area in your home where all family members should gather in case of emergency. A basement or storm shelter is usually best but if that’s not an option, and interior room (with no windows) or hallway is best. Preparing a disaster kit and storing it in there is also highly recommended.
Finding a Shelter
When sheltering in your home is not the best option, such as when the local authorities recommend or mandate an evacuation, you should put an alternative shelter plan in place.
Here are a few options:
- Talk to friends and relatives to see if you can stay with them in case of an emergency.
- Or create a list of hotels/motels to contact and make a reservation should evacuation seem likely.
- Research mass care shelter options in your area. (Keep in mind pets are often not welcome at these facilities.)
- Search for open shelters by texting SHELTER + a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). Standard rates apply.
Map Out Your Best Evacuation Route
Plan how you will leave and where you will go in case of an emergency evacuation. Plan ahead by mapping out and documenting a primary and backup evacuation route. Keep in mind storms can often knock out services such as cell phone service and/or GPS – so keep an old school, paper map handy with your evacuation plans.
If you have a car, and an evacuation seems likely, keep your gas tank full. Fuel can sometimes be difficult to find during an emergency as stores can run out or close down in the area. A full tank can get you further out of the evacuation area faster and further away from the evacuation area where more fueling options are more readily available.
Put a Family/Household Communication Plan in Place
We can’t emphasize this enough: communicating during an emergency can often be difficult if not impossible. Put a family or household communication plan in place before an emergency to help get your loved ones reunited as quickly as possible.
Here are a few communication guidelines to follow:
- Choose an out of town friend or relative to use as a point of contact. Send all messages through that designated person.
- Designate a predetermined meeting place for all family members to go if you/they are unable to return home.
- Keep important phone numbers and emergency contacts with you at all times. Make sure all members of the family, especially children have this information.
- Don’t forget about social media. You can communicate a message to loved ones via a social channel and can even mark yourself as safe on Facebook to let friends and family know about your status.
Stay Safe this Hurricane Season
As a Florida area business and seawall builder, we have seen first hand the damage a hurricane can do. We hope these tips are helpful and that all our friends, neighbors, customers, etc., – everyone – stays safe this 2018 hurricane season.
And if you are interested in learning more about our services, and how a seawall could help protect you and your property this hurricane season, give us a call.