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    Be Prepared This Hurricane Season

    ​August 5, 2016. Writen by Hannah Thomas, Maryland Responds State Administrator.

    Hurricane season (June 1 and November 30) is upon us. Hurricanes can pose a serious risk when they pass through our area. Knowing how to prepare for one now will help you stay safe and informed in the event that a Hurricane strikes this season. Follow these tips to stay prepared.


    1. Update your emergency kit. emergencykit.png


    When was the last time you looked through your emergency kit?  Have you checked to see if any of your supplies have leaked out of their containers or expired? Your emergency kit should be designed to take care of you, your family, and even your pets for three or more days. When updating your emergency kit, be sure to check the batteries in your flashlights and change them a minimum of once per year to avoid battery-leak corrosion. Then make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked, and don’t forget to re-charge your backup phone battery! Lastly, it is recommended that you change the water in your kit every three months. Use that time period as a guideline, and set aside 10-15 minutes every three months to check and update your emergency kit. For more information, visit:  https://www.ready.gov/kit.


    2. Review your evacuation plan with your family.

    Evacuation route sign_iStock_000002682555_Large.jpgNot only is it important for everyone to have an evacuation plan and emergency kit, but its just as important to make sure your family members know the plan. This knowledge is crucial because you may be separated from your family members and not know how or where to reunite with them. With small children in the house, be sure to go over your evacuation plan and practice it with them. You can draw maps, and even write down meeting spots and important phone numbers so that your children are also prepared when it comes to an emergency. This step will not only make a difference when it comes to an evacuation, but can also come in handy if they are lost or need to evacuate your house due to other unforeseeable reasons. Finally, every family member should have a short list of valuable or essential personal items to take with them – i.e., cell phones and chargers, required medicines, pets,vital documents, rain gear, etc. Going through this checklist can expedite the evacuation process, where all time is precious. For more information, visit: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-

    3. Keep your gas tank at least ¾ Full.

    Evacuating Yourself and Your Family any emergency situation, and especially during a hurricane evacuation, it is important to keep your gas tank at least ¾ of the way full so you are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Oftentimes in these situations there will be long lines of traffic leading to long stand stills. This means it will take more fuel than normal to travel even moderate distances. Gas station lines may be long, and this will stall your evacuation. Any delays to purchase fuel will seriously hamper your successful get-away - so try to avoid unnecessary pit stops!

    4. Know your shelter locations.

    Shelter cots.jpgDo you know where your nearest shelter location is? This is extremely important to know if a hurricane were to displace you and your family. You will need to know where you can go to take cover and receive follow-up care such as a food and water, emotional support, essential relief supplies and even first aid support. Hurricanes have the potential to cause widespread destruction with powerful winds, falling trees, flooding, long term power outages, and can even pollute local water supplies. Yes, hurricane flooding can pollute municipality as well as private water sources by pushing large amounts of contaminants and toxic substances from the ground - such as bacteria from flooded sewer systems and fertilizers from agricultural land - into public and private water supplies. All in all, you and your family need to know where to go for shelter and short-term care following a hurricane as well as many other natural or man-made disasters. If you need help finding a shelter please visit: http://bit.ly/2adqfw3. Good knowledge of short term care will make long term recovery much easier.

    5. Become familiar with weather terminology.

    Hurricane watches and warnings are issued well in advance because hurricane preparedness and evacuation activities are far more difficult to accomplish after the storm has arrived. Do you know the difference between a hurricane watch and a warning?
    A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds in excess of 64 mph) are possible within the next 48 hours. Steps to take during a hurricane watch include preparing yourself and your household by reviewing your evacuation plan and listening to what local officials and weather stations are telling you. This is also a good time to review the items in your emergency kit and add any additional items as needed.
    A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. In other words, a hurricane is imminent and it’s time for action! Steps to take during a hurricane warning include gathering your emergency kit and taking the appropriate actions outlined in your evacuation plan. Be sure and listen to your local television news channels. This is where local officials will be providing the latest storm information and evacuation instructions on a continuous basis. And remember, you took time to make a plan, so trust it, and remain confident when putting it into action!