Early preparation helps increase safety, reduce stress
It’s that time of year again – hurricane season.
Colorado State University climatologists Philip Klotzbach and Bill Gray, pioneers in the science of forecasting hurricanes and two of the world's leading experts on tropical storms, are predicting three hurricanes, 1 major, and 7 named storms this season. And when high winds, heavy rainfall and flooding meet our outdated electric power infrastructure, the result is often widespread power outages.
The time to prepare is before severe weather hits. Backup power is one way to be ready for storms, but there are many steps you can take to protect yourself and your family when the weather turns particularly nasty.
• Build an Emergency Kit. A basic emergency kit will help you keep your family safe and healthy in the event of a disaster. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends having at least two-weeks’ worth of the following supplies:
- Water, one gallon per person for both drinking and sanitation
- Food, non-perishables (refer to Generac’s Hurricane Preparation Shopping List) and a manual can opener for food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Moist towelettes, and garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities
- Cell phone and portable charger
• Stay in Touch. Download an application to your smartphone that can notify people where you are, and whether or not you are safe. The Red Cross has a Hurricane App available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
• Get Gas. You may need to evacuate in the event of a hurricane, or run a portable generator. Fill up your car or gas tank before the storm hits to avoid long lines.
• Know Your Evacuation Plan. Each community has an evacuation plan. It’s important to know the route to safely evacuate the area in the event of an emergency. Having an alternate route can also be beneficial.
• Locate the Nearest Shelter. Learn the location of the nearest shelter. If you have pets, make sure to identify pet-friendly shelters.
• Ax in the Attic. If flooding occurs, you may need to move to the rooftop. With an ax, you will be able to break through and climb on top of the roof where rescuers can reach you and your family, and take you to safety.
• Prepare Your Home. Use hurricane shutters, or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood, and reinforce garage doors. Bring in outside items if they can be picked up by high winds, and clear gutters of debris.
• Have Backup Power Available. If you already own a portable or automatic backup generator, complete the necessary maintenance to make sure the generator can function properly. If you don’t own a generator, consider purchasing one.