Prepare Now and Keep Everyone Safe and Healthy
Irma is now a Category 5 hurricane, with winds in excess of 180 miles per hour, and it’s bearing down on the Florida Keys, with potential landfall projected for this weekend. Authorities in Florida are already calling for mandatory evacuation of some areas. If you are in the areas subject to the evacuation order, you want to put together some essentials, but plan to get out with plenty of time to spare. There’s nothing to be gained by trying to stay in your home when you are in the direct path of such a storm. You simply won’t be able to cope with the sheer power of the storm, and you’ll only put yourself at risk of serious injury or death.
But the hurricane won’t just affect the people in its direct path. Experts say that the path of a hurricane can be up to 500 miles wide, with much of the most violent activity at the outermost parts of the storm. If you live anywhere in Florida, you need to start now to put an effective emergency plan in place. Here are the important things to do to keep you and your family safe and well.
Protect Your Home
Whether you stay or go, you need to do what you can to protect your home. Here are some simple measures that can minimize your losses:
- Board up your windows—Hurricane level winds can blow out a window in a heartbeat and expose your home to the elements.
- Clean out your gutters and downspouts—This can prevent water from coming in at the roofline
- Trim any trees near your house—If you have branches that are dead or hanging over your house, it’s best to take them down now, so they don’t fall on your house
- Cover any exterior A/C units—If you don’t, they can easily be damaged by water or debris
- Put all lawn furniture away—Otherwise, you may never see it again
If you stay, you’ll probably need a generator, as it’s likely that you’ll lose power. Don’t turn the generator on indoors and don’t plug it into an interior outlet. You can run the generator on a porch or in your garage, with the door open. Don’t leave the generator out in the rain or risk that it will get wet in a flood. Keep it covered at all times.
Provide for Your Basic Needs
In any type of natural disaster or weather threat, there are five fundamental items that you must have:
- Water—It’s fine to store tap water before the storm hits, but it’s important not to store the water in any type of container that will break or break down. Plastic containers are best, and the more heavy-duty you can find, the better. Plan on having a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and expect to need water for at least seven days (this will cover drinking and cooking water). If you can store more water, you should. You can’t have too much clean and potable water.
- Food—Put together enough non-perishable food for seven days. Canned goods are best, but make certain you have a couple can openers handy. Avoid foods that must be refrigerated—try to eat those before the storm hits. Get a zip-lock bag and put some basic spices—salt, pepper, sugar and a couple others. Pack energy bars and other high energy food items.
- Sanitation, clothing and bedding items—Many of these items will only become necessary if you end up evacuating your home. Get five gallon plastic buckets with a watertight lids and store sanitation items in them, including soap, toilet paper, moist towelettes, bleach and disinfectants. Make certain everyone has at least one complete change of clothing and shoes. Pack blankets or sleeping bags in watertight bags or containers. Pack any raingear that you have, as well as a hat and gloves.
- First aid supplies—If you can, purchase a pre-assembled first aid kit for your home and one to put in each of your vehicles. If you can’t find a pre-made first aid kit, put one together in a waterproof container, making certain you have a wide assortment of bandages and sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes and anti-bacterial ointment, non-latex gloves, scissors and tweezers. Also pack any prescription drugs your family needs, along with aspirin or anti-inflammatory products, antacids, laxatives and anti-diarrhea medicines.
- Tools and emergency items—Basic items include a flashlight for each family member, along with an extra set of batteries for each flashlight, a battery-operated radio (with extra batteries), a basic tool set (pliers, snips, screwdriver, hammer), matches in a waterproof container, a signal flare and a small fire extinguisher. You may also want to bring some cash and some traveler’s checks.
If you have pets, you should also plan on bringing them with you, so you’ll need to plan to bring many of the same items for them—food, litter, water and something to keep them dry and warm.
Let BusRental.com Take You to a Safe Place
If you decide to evacuate, one of the best ways to do so is on a bus. You won’t have to worry about traffic or driving in the rain, and you’ll be safe with friends and family. You can book online, the fast and easy way. Call 1-888-502-3458 to reserve your vehicle and to learn about any discounts. Let us help.