6 ExperTIPS to Keep Your Family Prepared This Hurricane Season
Hurricane Season on the Atlantic Coast is from June 1 through November 30, with the peak times being August and September. Hurricanes cause high winds, flooding, and heavy rain. Hurricanes do not only affect the coastline; severe rain, wind, and tornadoes are also a threat inland. Here are six healthcare tips to keep you and your loved ones prepared for hurricanes and other inclement weather:
1. Review and update important documents. Make sure your personal documents, such as health insurance policies, passports, medical documents, and personal identification forms are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space.
2. Have emergency supplies ready. Make sure you have enough emergency medical supplies such as any prescription medicines, inhalers, and a first aid kit. You may not have access to these supplies for several days or weeks after a hurricane. In addition, have bottled water, food, and flashlights on hand. Your emergency food supply should have a long shelf life with limited cooking and should not require refrigeration. For more information on emergency food and water supplies, visit the CDC’s website here.
3. Make an emergency plan. Discussing where you will evacuate, how you will receive emergency information such as alerts and warnings, and a shelter plan are all important to know ahead of time. Also sharing this information with your children and having a family communication plan in place can help provide clarity in inclement weather situations. For pet owners, pre-identifying a pet friendly shelter can cause peace of mind. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.
4. Gather important phone numbers. Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, counselor, and veterinarian. Other important numbers you should know include:
-Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222
-Animal Poison Control Helpline: 888-426-4435
–Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990
When you know a hurricane is forecasted, keep your cell phone charged and have any portable or backup chargers nearby.
5. Know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. (source CDC)
-A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
-A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.
6. Get your family ready. If you or a loved one is older or disabled and won’t be able to leave quickly, get advice on what to do during any inclement weather conditions. Call the hospital, public health department, or the police about any special needs.
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