Hurricane season is upon us and it’s important that every resident is prepared for an emergency. Last year, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Mineral, Virginia, on August 23. Many residents will never forget the aftershocks felt throughout the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Thankfully residents in the Ward escaped with minimal damage to their community and homes. Four days later, on August 27, Hurricane Irene barreled through Virginia littering her path with debris and leaving over 1 million homes and businesses without power.
While earthquakes might strike unknowingly at any hour of the day or night, a hurricane has a sense of predictability which allows for the element of preparedness. In 2004, while living in Florida, I lived through four destructive storms, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. It was Ivan who forced me to evacuate my apartment in downtown Miami and seek shelter for three days 15 miles west of the flood zone. My first major hurricane experience while a resident of Virginia took place during Irene. On the fourth day without power, I was thankful to have a roof over my head that didn’t leak and clean bottled water to drink.
Below are just a few things I ve learned over the years going into hurricane season that could make a positive impact on your level of preparedness:
- FOOD. Consider buying canned tuna, beans and salt free crackers. Even better, get your hands on a few packets of ready to eat meals or “MRE meals.” Don’t forget to buy bottled water in advance.
- PERSONAL. If you must evacuate, take any personal hygiene items, medications, change of clothes, and documents.
- PETS. If you get asked to evacuate your home, plan where you will take your pet(s).
- POWER. If you must operate life saving equipment for a sick family member, such as a respirator, consider purchasing a generator. Also, stay clear of downed power lines.
- SIGHT. Do you own a flashlight? Buy extra batteries to power your flashlight during dark moments. You’ll be grateful to have those back up batteries on day three if your power remains out.
Check out the City of Richmond website that contains resources to assist with preparedness, including information for businesses and residents.