As hurricane Irma becomes the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded it’s important to note the catastrophic damage it can cause. Irma’s winds are currently sustained just under 180 miles per hour and cause tornadoes as a result. Additionally, it’s important to be attentive of storm surge warnings and to be aware of the damage heavy rain fall and flooding can cause.
While Irma is predicted to make landfall early Sunday morning there are three important steps that one should take prior to the storm: stay informed, formulate a plan and prepare. Below is a comprehensive guide and resources on how to be hurricane ready.
With the storm quickly approaching you’ll need to know if you should leave town or evacuate to a shelter. Know your county’s evacuation routes, shelters and know your risk. Do you live in a flood zone? Study up in advance and keep yourself up to date on advisories from reputable news sources. Here are some ways to stay in the know:
- List of online NOAA radio stations
- NOAA weather app (iPhone)
- NOAA weather app (Android)
- Track the storm on various models
- Keep up with FIU’s homepage and social media to stay up to date on university news
Formulate a plan
You and your family should have a communications plan in place. Establish ways of contacting one another if separated and practice executing this plan a few days prior to the hurricane. Here are some tips on what your plan should include:
- Meeting points in and outside of your neighborhood that are easy to get to and you can go to in case you are separated.
- An out of state contact who you can reach out to and let know of your status.
- Red Cross emergency shelters near you
- FEMA Flood Map Service Center
Have a disaster kit ready
You should begin packing your disaster kit immediately. A disaster preparedness kit includes everything you might need in case of an emergency. Be sure to have enough supplies for a minimum of three days. Additionally, persons with disabilities or elderly people may require different kits. Be conscious of any health conditions and pack accordingly. Also, remember to pack for your pets. This list includes some items you can include in your own disaster kit:
- Cash, important papers and a list of important telephone numbers
- Food and water
- Flashlight, batteries, crank or battery powered radio, chargers and an analog phone (if you have a functioning phone jack)
- First aid kit
- Closed shoes and clean clothes
- Bug repellent
- Disposable plates, utensils etc
- Baby wipes and hygiene products
- Prescription medication, eye glasses, contacts
- Playing cards, coloring books, board games or a good book for entertainment
More kit ideas can be found at dem.fiu.edu, ready.gov and City of Miami hurricane supply list.
FIU’s Department of Emergency Management has some additional “insider tips” for hurricane preparation:
- Do laundry.
- Change your sheets.
- Charge all electronics and portable chargers ahead of time.
- Back up your computer to the cloud or jump drive.
- Cook your perishable foods.