Hurricane season lasts from June to November of each year. NOAA predicted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year with 13-20 named storms.
Now is the time to prepare and here are some preparations you can start now:
- Your medicines – It is possible that prescription medication may not be attainable for a long period after a major storm. Have a full supply of all necessary medications; do not wait to the last minute to get prescriptions filled. Also, make sure that you have a good supply of any over-the-counter medications you take, as well as first aid supplies.
- Water and food – This is an obvious preparation for all people including seniors. Food should be non-perishable items for at least three days for each person in the house. Experts recommend at least one gallon of drinking water per person each day.
- Think of your pets – Dogs and cats are important parts of many senior households. Preparing for them is an important part of hurricane readiness. Seniors should have a plan in case they must spend time in a storm shelter. Do you know the location of shelters that accept pets? Make sure that you can quickly locate leashes or carriers to transport pets, a pet bed or pet toys if they can be carried, and food, water and feeding bowls. If you must leave pets at home, can you find someone to check in on them after the storm, while you remain in the shelter?
- Plan for communication – Do you have a way to charge your cell phone if there is no electric power? A smart phone may become your only source of information and communication if there are long periods of power outages.
- Plan for an evacuation – If you are in a high danger zone, the local officials may order you to evacuate. If this happens, it is wise to heed the warning and leave. If you are not able to drive, identify someone ahead of time who can provide transportation even if it is only for a short distance. Build more time into an evacuation plan if you have any disabilities, use a walker or cane or need special assistance of any kind.
If you are living in a 55+ community in Florida, the community management should have emergency plans, including information about shelters, evacuation routes and steps to take to prepare your house or apartment. It’s a good idea to create a network of friends and relatives that you can count on in any emergency. Make sure you know how to communicate with each other if a storm or other disaster strikes.
If you are a senior living in your own home, there are some things you can do today to be prepared. Look at your landscaping, your trees and your roof. If there are any issues with these home areas, now is the best time to prepare. Tree thinning and pruning may prevent extensive damage to your property and help to save the tree itself in a high wind. Roof damage, if it is present, should be repaired well before a storm strikes.