With hurricane season around the corner it’s time to plan and prepare for the possibility of another active season. Washington County residents were confronted with a sobering reminder that a hurricane is not just a threat to coastal counties. The events of October 10, 2018 as Hurricane Michael slammed into Mexico Beach, proved that high winds, tornadoes, and flooding can be felt hundreds of miles inland causing catastrophic damage. It is important to take the necessary steps to prepare your family for all types of weather related emergencies. Knowing your risks, getting prepared, and staying informed are just a few steps you can take to ensure your safety.
Get Prepared: Make sure you have a family evacuation and communication plans, and update your emergency supply kit.
· Know your evacuation route. Evacuations are more common than people realize. Make yourself familiar with your community’s evacuation route so you’ll know exactly where to go. Remember: if a hurricane threatens your community and local officials say it’s time to evacuate, don’t hesitate – go early. Remember, public shelters are “last resort” options and do not offer the comfort or convenience of a hotel or the home of a friend or family member.
· Complete a family communication plan. Plan how you will assemble your family and loved ones, and anticipate where you will go in different situations. Talk with your family and agree on ways to contact one another in an emergency, identify meeting locations, and make a Family Emergency Communication Plan. This website will help walk you through those steps: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/108887
Emergency Supply Kit Supplies List:
· Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
· Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable 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
· Dust masks, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
· Moist Towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
· Personal hygiene items
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Non-Electric can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
· Local maps
· Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
· Know where to go for trusted sources of information during a hurricane event. Sign up for alerts from AlertWashington for resident specific notifications that go directly to your home phone, cell phone, and/or email. To sign up for notifications online visit: AlertWashington.org or call the Washington County Emergency Management Office at 638-6203, Monday through Friday from 8:00AM until 4:00PM.
· Monitor local media outlets for hurricane watches and warnings in your area and follow the directions of local officials. Make sure you have a battery-operated or hand-crank radio available should the power go out.
Additional information is available at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.