As we head into the middle of August, we’ve got two months of hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th, under our belts already. To date, there have been three named storms - Andrea, Barry, and Chantal - which fortunately did not have an impact on our area. But with four months still left to go, it’s far too soon to start getting complacent.
The most significant storms to hit our area in recent years came later in the season. Irene and Lee hit us in late August and early September and Sandy was not until late October.
On top of all that, hurricane experts predict that the 2013 season will be 70% more active than an average season with projections at 18 tropical storms, nine hurricanes, and three to six major hurricanes.
We learned from Irene, Lee, and Sandy that advanced preparation is essential to safely weathering these storms. To make sure you’re prepared, Orange County Emergency Services Commissioner Walter C. Koury and I encourage all residents, individuals, and families to act now in order to be adequately prepared should disaster strike.
• Develop a family plan for survival and property protection.
• If your residence is in a potential flood or storm surge zone, be prepared to evacuate if and when officials recommend it.
• Make arrangements now for elderly family members and those with special needs, such as people who rely on electrical life support.
• Identify someone who resides in a non-threatened area that you will keep informed about your family’s plans when things start to get rough out there.
• Plan what to do with your pet in the event of an emergency.
• Inventory personal property; safely secure all records and valuable documents in a watertight place.
• Have materials available to protect your doors and windows.
• Have emergency cash or traveler’s checks saved and ready.
• If your job requires you to work during a storm, make sure now that at least one adult will be with the children, elderly, or those with special needs when the storm comes.
• Put together a family evacuation kit.
The following items are recommended to prepare a basic evacuation kit. Plan for at least a three day supply and keep the kit ready to go. Include a battery-operated radio and flashlight, plus the following essential tools:
• First-aid kit
• Two-week supply of needed medicine
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Extra clothing, infant necessities
• Personal items, including books and toys
• Important papers (valid ID)
• Checkbook, cash, credit card(s), ATM card(s)
For more information about how to prepare yourself and your family in the event of an emergency, please check out the Emergency Management pages on the County website at www.orangecountygov.com or FEMA’s website at www.ready.gov.
Being prepared well before an emergency strikes will save critical time and lives.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.