Getting Ready for Hurricane Season

Today's post is by Hannah d'Entremont, a public relations and political science students at West Virginia University.  She's also one of APHA's summer interns!

Do you remember how bad Hurricane Katrina was? What about Hurricane Sandy? Both hurricanes — which hit New Orleans and the northeast U.S., respectively — caused a lot of damage. They also caused many preventable injuries and deaths.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic began on June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Hurricanes can be dangerous and life-threatening. So it’s important to understand ways to stay safe.

Hurricanes are rated on a scale of one through five, with one being the weakest and five being the strongest. Sandy made landfall in Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane, and Katrina was a Category 3 when it hit Louisiana. But all hurricanes are dangerous, no matter their category. Strong winds and debris can cause damage to people, homes and communities.
Super-storm Sandy making landfall in the United States.
Photo credit: Rob Gutro,
Goddard Space Flight Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that this year’s hurricane season should include six to 11 named storms, three to six of which should become hurricanes. With that in mind, it makes sense to be prepared. Learn about your community’s hurricane warning system, evacuation routes and nearby hurricane shelters. (You should also know these things if you’re vacationing in an area at-risk for hurricanes.) Make a plan with your family. Write down emergency phone numbers and identify a meeting place in case you have to evacuate in a hurry and all family members are not together. Never ignore evacuation orders.

You should also have supplies such as food, water, medicine, safety items, personal care products and an emergency kit for your car packed and ready to go. Include paper maps in your kit in case electricity and cellphones aren’t working. Fill up your gas tank in advance if a storm is predicted to head your way.

For more hurricane tips, check out our Get Ready fact sheet on hurricanes.

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