The beginning of June always reminds me of hurricanes since June 1st is the start of hurricane season. For those of you who have not lived in Florida for a number of years, hurricanes are not to be taken lightly. They are quite frightening even with all the precautions we usually take.
For years, we have been fortunate to have avoided the deadly consequences of being directly hit by Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes. However, my family and I lived in Florida during Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Wilma and remember the financial, emotional, and physical toll it took on our community.
Hurricane Andrew passed directly through Homestead in Miami-Dade County on August 24, 1992. It was a Category 5 hurricane that completely devastated entire communities. Driving through the area months later, it reminded me of a war zone. Homes were completely demolished and blown away, leaving only the foundations. Electricity and phone lines were non-existent.
Fast forward to October 24th, 2005, and Hurricane Wilma. Wilma was a Category 5 hurricane that killed 25 people. It cut power to over 3 million homes and businesses and stopped water services to many. Phone lines were down and getting a cell signal was nearly impossible. Many homes had roof damage and generators were tough to get even if you could drive to a store. Traffic lights were blown down with live wires on the ground. Trees and branches in the roads made traffic difficult. Food and gas were tough to get.
Since these hurricanes, I like many others have gotten a generator, shutters, and stocked up on water and batteries. The many hurricane preparation notices that we will be bombarded with need to be taken seriously. Not being able to drive the roads, get gas or food, or have phone contact with out-of-town family remind us of how powerless we truly are with the forces of nature.
If you don’t or can’t evacuate, take these precautions seriously. The best you can do now is to develop an emergency plan and be prepared and stock up on the following:
• Three-day food and water supply for you, your family, and your pets
• Medicine and medical supplies
• Flashlights, power backups, batteries
• Generator and gas
• Battery powered television or radio
• Other safety items
• Important documents in a waterproof bag
• A fire extinguisher
• A full gas tank for your cars
No matter how much we have hardened our electrical systems, homes, and communities, hurricanes still remain a severe threat to our lives.
Take hurricane watches/warnings seriously. It might save your life.