Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30 each year. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials are predicting nine to fifteen named storms this season, which means a “near-normal” Atlantic season. However, 2012 is the first year that two tropical storms formed in the Atlantic prior to June 1 since 1908, which has heightened awareness of the start of this season.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that every family build an emergency kit of food, water, and supplies that will last for at least 72 hours, including:
- Water – One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food – At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (Don’t forget pet food!)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert (and extra batteries for both)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit – Include prescription medications
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
There are many government resources that provide additional preparedness tips, including information for business owners. All of the websites listed below include valuable information on disaster kits and preparing your home/business for severe weather. We reviewed the sites and found that some have unique features worth checking out:
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety – http://www.disastersafety.org/ – Identify which natural disaster risks you face based on your zip code. (Example: My St. Petersburg zip code came back with “Flood, Hurricane, and Wildfire”. My brother’s Colorado zip code came back with “Flood, Hail, Winter Weather, Tornado, and Wildfire”.)
Florida Business Disaster Survival Kit – http://www.fldisasterkit.com/ – Strictly business! This website’s survival guide is broken down into three sections: planning process, hazards analysis & response, and recovery & mitigation.
FEMA – http://www.ready.gov/ – The most unique feature of FEMA’s site is the plethora of information for post-disaster recovery, including how to apply online for disaster assistance. The FEMA website also offers a current list of official Emergency and Disaster Declarations.
Florida Division of Emergency Management – http://floridadisaster.org/ – Best kid-friendly section! This website features interactive games for kids to educate them about natural disasters and disaster preparedness. (Example: 30/30 Rule game – the lesson is to go inside if you hear thunder within 30 seconds of a lightning flash, and wait at least 30 minutes after you hear thunder before you go back outside.)
If you already have a family and business disaster plan and supply kit, now is the time to review, recycle, and restock for 2012.
“The most important aspect of an emergency plan is to test it. Testing it when the winds are blowing is not the proper time! Testing processes can range from a Table Top Review of the plan with all key members present, to an actual test simulating an emergency, and people performing their assigned duties. Testing can identify weaknesses and deficiencies in the plan and you can correct them before an emergency happens.” - Barbara Cooksey, one of Bouchard’s Loss Control Consultants
In the event of a direct hit to one of Bouchard’s offices, we will keep you updated via our website and social media pages:
Thanks for reading,Lindsey Lupfer Communication Specialist Bouchard Insurance