Hurricane Preparedness & Why North Texans Should Care

By Shannon Randol, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

It’s week three of National Preparedness Month, and that means it’s Hurricane Preparedness Week! Tornado season may be over, but hurricane season is in full swing.

While these weather elements are unlikely for North Texas, DFW is a hurricane evacuation center. And even if DFW only receives a little bit of rain from a hurricane, its residual effects can and will reach us.

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It’s likely that you or someone you know live(s) along the coast and could be impacted when a hurricane makes landfall. North Texas becomes the safe haven for evacuees from the Gulf, but many of us know people who live in coastal areas who may be affected. This is why it’s important to be prepared and to pass along what you know. Feel free to share this information with loved ones who could be in danger.

Here are the following steps to take to be ahead of the storm:
1. Stay weather aware. Hurricane conditions are a threat up to 48 hours before impact.
2. Have an evacuation route pre-planned and be ready to leave 48 hours prior to expected landfall.
3. Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
4. Turn your freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible. The food will last longer in case of power outage.
5. Batten down the hatches. Board up windows and doors with plywood.
6. Make sure your automobiles have a full tank of gas.
7. Unplug small appliances.
8. Build your emergency disaster kit and download the Red Cross’ Hurricane App.

After The Storm:
1. If evacuated, only return home when officials say it’s safe.
2. Stay out of any building with water around it.
3. Drive only if necessary and remember #turnarounddontdrown
4. Inspect damage and take pictures.
5. Avoid using tap water until you’re sure it’s not contaminated.
6. Register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to ensure other friends and family you are safe. You can also call 1-866-GET-INFO to register.

Ways To Build A Stronger Home:
1. Clear out rain gutters, awnings, and other drainage on your property.
2. Remove trees that are subject to uprooting during high winds.
3. Install permanent storm shutters or make one-half inch plywood cut-outs to fit your windows.
4. Strengthen garage doors and double entry doors at the top and bottom.
5. Stock up on sandbags.

Hurricanes are strong storms that can cause hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and possible tornadoes. Staying weather aware and prepared for disasters are your best options to beat the storm and keep your family safe.

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