As Hurricane Ian nears and Florida residents take precaution, knowing how to prepare and respond increases a person’s chance of survival, according to the National Weather Service.
Before the start of hurricane season, the NWS recommends building a basic emergency supply kit and periodically making sure emergency equipment works correctly, including flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
The weather service refers residents of hurricane zones to the US Department of Homeland Security’s “Basic Disaster Supplies” list on ready.gov, which has a breakdown of basic and additional supplies approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Basic emergency items include non-perishable food and water (gallon per person) that can last for several days, backup batteries and chargers for cellphones, extra packs of batteries for other emergency items, a battery-operated or hand crank radio, flashlights and a first aid kit
Other basic disaster supplies that ready.gov names include a whistle to signal for help, dust masks to filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape for sheltering in place, sanitation materials (moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties), a wrench or pliers for turning off utilities, a manual can opener and local maps.
Additional emergency supply include prescribed medications and eyewear, infant or pet care supplies and copies of important family documents (IDs, bank accounts, insurance policies, etc.). People should keep these documents in a portable waterproof container, according to ready.gov.
More items include cash, emergency reference materials like first aid books and evacuation information, sleeping bags or warm blankets for each family member, extra clothes, fire extinguishers, matches (stored in a waterproof container), feminine and personal hygiene supplies, hand sanitizers, mess kits, disposable dinnerware, paper, pencil and non-electric entertainment activities.
The NWS and ready.gov both advise residents living in hurricane zones to investigate their area’s risk level and their nearest evacuation zone.
With this information in hand, residents who are at risk are urged to put together an emergency plan and review the plan with family members before disaster strikes.
Both agencies state that preparing “go bags” or packing a car trunk with basic emergency supplies should be a part of each family’s emergency planning, and it must be done before a hurricane arrives.
Residents in hurricane zones should consider having materials to fortify their homes, such as wood planks for boarding windows, according to the NWS’s What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane.
Homeowners should also keep trees trimmed, declutter gutters, bring loose outdoor furniture indoors, secure all doors and move cars into garages or another secure location, according to the NWS and ready.gov.
Storm forecasts and updates should be monitored before, during and after a hurricane passes.
The NWS said information can be found through local TV news stations, mobile phones, radio broadcasts, social media and weather.gov.
If evacuations are ordered by local officials, the NWS and ready.gov strongly encourage residents to follow instructions and leave immediately. Returns can be made if officials deem areas to be uninhabitable post-hurricane.
Residents who aren’t ordered to evacuate can take refuge in small interior rooms, closets or hallways for safety, according to the NWS.
“Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors,” the NWS warns. “If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.”
Ready.gov recommends avoiding floodwaters outside and moving to higher levels if floodwaters enter a building or house.
Homeowners shouldn’t hide in closed attics because they can become trapped by rising floodwater, according to the disaster preparedness website.
Cleaning up after a hurricane might require wearing protective clothing, including face coverings or masks if mold is present and being extra cautious around electrical equipment that may have gotten wet during the storm, ready.gov warns.
The NWS says residents should also be wary of weakened roads, bridges, sidewalks and walls, structural damage from floods or fires, loose power lines, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning from generators or another source.
Fox News’ Courtney Moore contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism