Hurricanes are devastating events produced by Mother Nature. The official hurricane season is from June 1st until November 30th. A hurricane is actually a form of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm. They form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, in the eastern Pacific Ocean the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Tornadoes can sometimes be spawned from a hurricane. If you live in a region that is known for getting hit with hurricanes, it is best to understand the evacuation procedures and what you will need to stay safe and healthy. It can be a scary time especially for kids so here are some hurricane safety tips for kids.
What the Warnings Mean
- A hurricane watch simply means that the weather conditions are right for a hurricane to make landfall in your area. There is the possibility that the area will experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. When a hurricane watch goes into effect, your family should start the disaster plan that has already been decided on in case of a hurricane. All protective measures should also be initiated; this will include actions needed to set up a quick evacuation plan especially if having to leave a barrier island.
- A hurricane warning means that your area sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour are expected within 24 hours. As soon as the hurricane warning has been issued, the protective actions should be just about complete and your family will have decided the safest location to be during the storm. For some hurricanes that are not as strong, a safe room in your home may be all the shelter that is needed. For strong hurricanes, evacuation is generally the best way to stay safe.
Before a Hurricane Happens
Make sure that your family has completed this checklist prior to the hurricane making landfall.
- Create a disaster plan prior to hurricane season and understand what needs to be done before a hurricane happens.
- Create a pet disaster plan. Contact your veterinarian for information on how to keep your pets safe during an emergency.
- Board up windows and bring in any items that are outside that could blow away or cause others harm by becoming airborne. Be sure to fasten down large objects to keep them from going airborne.
- Know where you live including street address and county or parish so you can relay that information if necessary.
- Understand where every evacuation route is to leave your home. Do not leave your home though unless it is the only way to stay safe.
- Prepare a disaster supplies kit and know where it is. Have a small pack for each child in the home to be able to pick up and carry. Enough food and water for three days needs to be in each kit as well as a first aid kit. Have written instructions on how to turn off gas, water and electricity in case of emergency.
- Know where to find the weather radio and have plenty of batteries packed with it so you and your family can get updates on weather advisories.
- Have access to cash since all banks and ATMs will probably be closed following a major hurricane.
- Make sure that your parents have filled the car with plenty gasoline in case of quick evacuation.
During a Hurricane
While a hurricane is in progress and threatening your area, you need to follow these instructions.
- Always stay inside during a hurricane. Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes and the strong winds will cause extensive damage and projectile objects.
- Stay away from low-lying areas and areas that are prone to flooding. If your home is in one of those areas, it is best to evacuate the home until the hurricane is over. Go to a shelter.
- If you live in a mobile home you will need to evacuate and go to a shelter.
- Should the authorities say to evacuate your home, do so immediately. Make sure to grab the hurricane supplies kits and your pets.
After the Hurricane
Once the hurricane passes and your area is storm free, you may want to do the following.
- Remain inside until the authorities say it is okay to go outside.
- Check on your neighbors and help them if they are trapped or injured. Do not put yourself in danger doing though.
- Stay away from flooded areas and watch for any flash flooding. Do not try to wade out into high water.
- Standing water may be electrically charged, so avoid going near it.
- Do not drink any tap water until the authorities say that the water is safe to drink. Boil it prior to drinking if you do not have any bottled water.