For the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
“An above normal season, near normal season or below normal season, is not just defined by the total number of hurricanes, but rather if any hurricane hits our community,” says City of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “It only takes one, so being prepared just makes sense: Get a kit, make a plan, stay informed.”Before…
Have a hurricane disaster plan: Locate local shelters. Map the route to a nearby shelter; this will cut down on the travel time. Make sure you know how to get there before an evacuation order is issued.
If you are not ordered to evacuate, find shelter in your home. The safest place during a hurricane is an interior room without windows. Get your home and yard ready for a hurricane. Install hurricane shutters; remove dead and diseased trees and branches; identify items in the yard that should be brought inside; clean rain gutters, outside stairwells, window wells, drain lines and downspouts.
Have a family discussion about what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with each other when a storm threatens. It is important to listen to local authorities as a storm approaches. Getting ready now will leave you better prepared and will make all the difference.
If a hurricane watch has been issued for your area, conditions are favorable for and could produce a hurricane. Listen to the news and the weather updates and make sure you leave if an official evacuation is ordered. Cover your windows with hurricane shutters or plywood. Taping windows offers little or no protection against the winds. If a hurricane warning has been issued, a violent storm, possibly a hurricane, is expected within 24 hours.
- Remain inside, away from windows and doors.
- During power outages, try to avoid carrying a lit candle. Use flashlights instead. Don’t use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space. Never use a candle for a light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
- Do not be fooled by the calm when the eye of the hurricane is above your area; the worst of the storm is probably yet to come.
- Be prepared for tornadoes caused by hurricanes; remain inside and at the center of your home or in a closet or basement.
Continue to listen to the news and weather updates. Often when the storm is over, damage still exists from floods, downed power lines and electrically charged water.
Stay out of buildings that have been damaged or flooded and obey detour and warning signs when driving. Never enter a flooded or barricaded roadway (even with a large vehicle); vehicles can be swept away by only two feet of water.
If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. Below are a list of things to consider while preparing yourself for hurricane season. Do not forget our furry family members!
- Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!
- Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
Along with preparing your home for natural disasters, it is also important to think about disasters that start within the home, like fires. When electricity goes out during natural disasters, people often need to use temporary cooking and lighting devices in emergency situations.
Be sure to:
- Exercise caution when using candles and alternate or portable methods for cooking, such as camping stoves. Restrict their use to well ventilated areas.
- Keep combustible materials (especially paper and cardboard boxes) away from open flames, space heaters and other electrical devices.
- Keep electrical circuits from overloading by limiting the number of electrical devices plugged into outlets.
- When staying in hotels and motels, make sure the smoke detector is working.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires in the City of Richmond – the hazards associated with these fires have resulted in more deaths and injury as the result of preparing food left unattended. People should be more aware of how to handle these kitchen hazards. Even though Fire and Emergency Services do what they can to combat the growing trend in our community, they have seen little results; therefore, they are making every effort possible to educate our school age children, private, public, commercial and industry.
We encourage those who are faced with this hazard to call 911 and make every attempt to notify others.
Here are kitchen fire safety tips –
- Remain in the kitchen while cooking
- Keep all combustible material away from the stove while cooking
- Keep the handle of the pan or pot to the inside of the stove – should you experience a stove fire do not remove the pan from stove – turn the stove off – take a lid or cookie sheet – slide it slowly across the pan and allow the pan/pot to cool
- Keeping an oven mitt or pot holder nearby can reduce the chance of a burn injury
- The best way to suppress an oven fire is to cut the power to the oven and keep the door closed
Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.