2002-08-24 / Community

Keeping Your Eye On Hurricanes

Keeping Your Eye On Hurricanes

According to the National Hurricane Service Center, there is a 35% probability that 2002 will be an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with the season lasting from June to December 1, and with heightened activity in September.

Renowned forecaster William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, anticipates that there will be nine named storms, with the likelihood that four will become hurricanes and one will evolve into a major hurricane.

Those living in hurricane prone areas should assess their vulnerability by determining if their home is in a mandatory evacuation zone. If so, they must relocate to alternative housing, such as the home of a friend, relative, or other safe shelter outside the evacuation zone. A route and an alternate route to reach the shelter should be planned as well.

Panasonic, an industry leader not only in consumer electronics, but also

flashlights and batteries, developed the following Preparedness Plan. The Plan is an easy-to-follow process to help increase personal safety during a volatile storm, particularly for those living in coastal areas. Panasonic reminds consumers to be AWARE:

Be ‘AWARE’

A - Advance preparation is key. Prepare a family survival kit in the event of a storm.

W - Words are key. Understand the difference between "hurricane watch" (hurricane conditions possible within 36 hours) and "hurricane warning" (expected within 24 hours); the time difference between the two affects the way people should respond.

A - All together now! Hold a family meeting to discuss emergency procedures and to prepare personal evacuation plans for each family member and pets.

R - Remain calm. Keeping a cool head will help families abide by safety procedures.

E - Keep your ears open. In the event electrical service is lost, make sure you have a battery-powered radio to get the latest news and information.

Severe storms, hurricanes and the power outages they cause will be less stressful if your home is stocked with the right products. A family survival kit should include a first aid kit and essential medicines, battery-powered radio, flashlights, spare batteries, identification and medical information, and a supply of cash, as ATMs and credit cards may be useless due to power failures.

You should have 3 gallons of bottled water per person per day reserved, non-perishable foods, cellular phone with charged batteries, rain gear and sleeping bags or blankets, extra change of clothing and shoes, battery-powered games to keep children occupied, and call lists of relatives/ emergency contacts. Useful phone numbers would include American Red Cross, your insurance company, utility company, local fire, rescue and police departments. Finally your family survival kit should have written instructions to turn off the gas and water, if advised by authorities.

If you have evacuated your home, wait until local officials assure you that it’s safe to return. If your home has been affected by natural disaster, be certain to document damage to your property by submitting photographs to your insurance company.

Better yet before disaster strikes, take photos or video of your home and its contents to document your belongings. Store the video or photos in a safe place, away from your home, so you’ll have them later.

To prepare against future storms, review your Preparedness Plan with family and neighbors.

"History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster," notes the director of the National Hurricane Center Max Mayfield.


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