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Current Events How to stay safe before, during, and after Hurricane Irma

Sep. 8, 2017
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According to the most recent forecasts, Hurricane Irma is projected to make landfall in the continental United States—specifically in the Florida Keys and Miami—by Sunday, September 10th, at 8am. The storm is likely to hit as a Category 4 storm, with winds reaching up to 145mph. Irma has already slammed through a string of northeast islands in the Caribbean—Barbuda took a major hit, with 90% of its buildings damaged, according to officials.

ABC News reports that that National Hurricane Center (NHC) has reported that the entire state of Florida could feel "direct impacts”, though it's too soon to tell for sure. The Florida Keys have issued a mandatory evacuation in preparation for Irma’s landfall. 

via: ABC News 

The storm may also have an impact on the Carolinas and the East Coast, simply due to the sheer size and power of this storm: Irma is 400 miles wide—to put that into perspective, we’re talking about the full distance between Miami and Tallahassee, Florida, which reside at opposite ends of the state. 

With Irma rapidly approaching the United States, we’ve gathered a couple of tips and tricks from CNN, ABC News, and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) which may be helpful to you. As always, make sure that you have a plan of action in place to keep your family, loved ones, and yourself safe.  

BEFORE THE HURRICANE:

  • Stock up on extra plastic bags and sheets of plastic. Plastic is essential to prevent important documents, paintings, equipment and furniture from getting wet.
  • Store extra food, especially things that can be eaten without cooking or which need very little preparation. Electricity may be off during a hurricane, leaving you without refrigeration, so don’t rely on food that needs to be preserved.
  • Make sure you have emergency equipment in your home. This can include waterboots, raincoats, flashlights, batteries, portable radio, kerosene lamps and matches.
  • Have simple first-aid equipment such as iodine, bandages, eye lotion, etc. at home.
  • Put on your handyman hat. Keep handy a supply of lumber, plywood, timber, etc. for battening-down purposes.
  • Trim trees that touch power lines or hang over the house and other buildings.
  • Look into local shelters that you may be able to use. If you have pets, see if there are pet friendly shelters or bring money to pay the fee some shelters charge to bring your pet.  

DURING THE HURRICANE:

  • Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary. Small children are particularly at risk of being blown away by strong wind gusts.
  • If you are away from home, remain where you are until the hurricane has passed. Many people have lost their lives trying to go from one place to another.
  • Duck and cover. If the house shows signs of breaking up, stay under a table or stand in a sturdy closet.
  • Safeguard yourself from shattered glass. If your glass windows have not been boarded up, place a large heavy object in front of the window to protect yourself and others from splintering glass.
  • Listen to the radio. That’ll be your fastest and most reliable resource for information on what is happening.

AFTER THE HURRICANE:

  • Do not touch loose or dangling electrical wire. You could risk being electrocuted. 
  • Watch your water use. Immediately after the hurricane, don’t use stored water for washing houses, cars and watering gardens until normal water services have been restored.
  • Think before you drink. Boil all drinking water until you are sure that a safe water supply has been restored.
  • Do not go outside barefooted. Avoid wearing open shoes and watch out for broken glass.
  • Check in with friends and family. Get in contact with your loved ones to see if they are safe. 

Above all, make sure that you remain calm throughout the hurricane.  Panicking can cause a lot more harm than good, and safety should always be your number one priority. 

Adolescent Content hopes that you stay safe during Hurricane Irma and any other upcoming storm.