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BAJA - Hurricane Preparedness

By Kerri Moser

Hurricane season runs from June 1st until November 30th. While each year experts make very educated predictions concerning the number and severity of storms for each given season, hurricanes can still wreak a massive amount of devastation and chaos on any area despite today’s advanced warning systems.

Hurricanes are a force no one can fully guard against. As mere obstacles in the path of these intense storms, we and our homes and belongings are at its mercy; yet there are steps we can take to prepare ourselves and increase the likelihood that we and our loved ones will weather the storm safely. The most important thing any family can do is to be prepared before a storm is set to arrive. It is never too early to have a full and
properly equipped emergency kit. The two most obvious items to have in your kit are food and water for 3 to 7 days. One gallon per person per day is the basic guideline recommended by experts. The emergency food supply should be non-perishable items along with a manual can opener. The kit should also contain any special food that family members may need, such as baby food or food that allows for any allergies.

Since there is never any way to determine how long an emergency kit will have to last, other items besides food and water must be included. A fully stocked first aid kit, which also contains any special medicines or prescriptions, can be a literal lifesaver in the aftermath of a hurricane. Be sure to pack flashlights, batteries, and a radio to stay in touch with what is going on around you. Don’t forget the needs of the family pets also. They too need adequate food and supplies. Keep a crate or leash on hand in case you need to evacuate with the pets. Your supply kit should also contain important paperwork that needs to stay dry and within reach. This may include copies of medical records, insurance policy papers and banking documents. Tools are also a good idea to have in your kit. You may be able to repair minor damage to your home, preventing further water or wind damage before you are able to get any help.

Once it has been determined that a hurricane could possibly make landfall and affect your area, there are steps you should take immediately. Your vehicles should be completely full of fuel. You never know when an evacuation order will be given or exactly how many miles away you may need to flee. All cell phones should be fully charged in case power is out for an extended period of time. You may also want to keep a supply of cash on hand. If there is no power for days, cash machines and banks will not be able to accommodate your money needs. Do your best to secure your home and belongings. Use plywood on windows, secure boats and outdoor furniture, use fasteners on the roof to help prevent damage and lock up everything you possibly can.

While these items and tips can help make life a lot easier when a hurricane is coming, there are steps you should take long before the season even starts. It is vital that you

and your family discuss a comprehensive evacuation and communication plan. Each member should know to get in touch with a common contact far from the area. This will let one person know exactly where and how everyone else is in case family members are separated. Also, plan a meeting safe spot for all members to converge upon when it is safe.

Once you have made all the proper preparedness plans that you can possibly make ahead of time, stay informed. When a hurricane is on the way, stay tuned to your local authorities. Listen to multiple sources, such as radio, television and internet warnings. If the local authorities are telling your area to evacuate, follow their directions. If you can stay in your home, stay in a small interior room. Close all of the other doors and keep shades and curtains closed to minimize any glass dangers. Stay as low as possible also.

While it is impossible to guarantee you and your home are 100% safe and sound during a hurricane, taking the time to follow these simple tips can decrease damage, loss, and certainly the headaches that the storm is sure to leave behind.

Things to Remember After a Hurricane Passes

1. Stay out of damaged buildings or homes until they are properly inspected for safety
2. Never attempt to cross flood waters.
3. Stay away from stray or loose animals
4. Stay away from mosquito infested areas, like standing water. These are prime conditions for disease.
5. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning dangers from generators, camp stoves, ect.
6. Boil water or drink bottled water. Never drink water that smells or had unusual color.
7. Be on the lookout for mold. Remove any water-logged carpets or furniture as soon as possible.

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