A hurricane is a kind of severe tropical storm or tropical cyclone that brings about strong winds, intense rainfall, storm surges and floods. It typically results to catastrophic damage in large areas it strikes, mainly in the coastlines but also reaches hundred miles inland. It forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic hurricane seasons begins June and ends November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October, whereas the Eastern Pacific hurricane lasts from May to November.
Before a Hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, one should take the following necessary precautions:
- Prepare an emergency kit and create a family communications plan.
- Know the area where one lives. Identify levees and dams near the area to determine whether it poses a danger.
- Determine where to go and how to go to higher ground or evacuation centers if needed.
- Create plans that will secure the entire property, from all the windows, frame structure, trees and shrubs, rain gutters, garage doors, outdoor furniture, etc.
- If one lives in a high-rise building, be ready to evacuate on or below the 10th floor. Do not use the elevator in case of sudden power shut down.
- One may consider to build a safe room.
During a Hurricane
It is very difficult to stay composed when these natural disasters strike, but it is highly encouraged to stay calm at all times. If a hurricane is probably going to affect one’s property, one should opt to:
- Listen for news of new information by means of television or radio.
- Secure the house. Close storm shutters. Bring outdoor objects indoors.
- If there are instructions to do so, turn off utilities. If not, switch the refrigerator thermostat to the coldest setting and keep the doors closed.
- Switch the propane tanks off.
- Except in cases of serious emergencies, avoid using the phone.
- If time permits, moor the boat.
- Make sure that there is enough water supply for sanitary purposes.
- Keep food safe at all times.
- If one is instructed to evacuate, follow the instructions given by local authorities.
- Stay indoors at all times and stay away from glass doors and windows.
- Lie under a sturdy object.
After a Hurricane
One must stay updated at all times for the latest updates. The following steps are recommended after a hurricane:
- Remain alert for news of extended rainfall and consequent flooding.
- Use the family communications plan in case of separation from the family.
- Only return home once local officials assure its safety.
- Several government and non-government organizations offer several types of assistance for housing needs.
- Do not drive unless necessary and avoid roads that are still flooded and bridges that are washed out.
- Inspect the house for any structural damage, gas leaks, and loose power lines before entering.
- Immediately report loose power lines.
At times of a hurricane and other natural disasters, everyone should be prepared. It is generally recommended to take First Aid Courses to help be prepared for a hurricane.