June- too soon.
July-- stand by!
August—look out you must.
October, all over.
This jingle reminds us that the Hurricane season is here. Although we all hope for a very calm and uneventful hurricane season, it is important to be prepared. Being prepared, not only means getting your supplies at your house in order, but also taking the time to speak to your children about the season. This week, as we start in Part 1 of Preparing for Hurricane Season, we look at what to do before a hurricane.
The easiest way to explain it to young children is that hurricanes are serious storms. They are tropical storms that form in bodies of water. Hurricanes gather heat and energy through evaporation and convection of warm ocean waters.
After explaining how hurricanes are formed, it’s worthwhile asking your child if they know or in some cases remember what type of weather we have with a hurricane. You are likely to hear things like strong winds, flooding, rain etc. They are likely to remember strong winds and rain. You can explain to them that depending on how strong the hurricane is, which is determined by its speed and what gives it its category allocation from category 1 – 5, different types of damage can occur. Sometimes, there will just be a little flooding or some tree branches may fall down, and other times it may be more serious. You may not want to get too deep into how serious, as in preparing for a hurricane, you are not trying to scare your child, but just let them know a little of what to expect, and why we need to prepare.
Ok, so now that we have discussed what a hurricane is, it’s best for us to look at things to do before, during and after a hurricane.
Before a hurricane:
Once you have discussed what a hurricane is, it’s important to develop a family emergency plan. Having your children and teens involved in this plan is a good idea. Not only will they be aware of what is happening, and is it a good example so that when they are older they would do the same, but also it will likely alleviate some fears, knowing that their family has taken all the necessary precautions.
Discuss issues such as :
-Where to go in a hurricane: Is your home safe to stay in during a hurricane? If not, where will you be going? Which shelter is the most convenient and appropriate for your family? What will be the plan if there is need to evacuate?
Securing your Property: Discuss the importance of securing your property for both you and those around you. How your hurricane shutters will be closed or put up? Many of us have items in our yards that can become a problem with high winds. Discuss how they will be removed and where to. This will be a great time to highlight to your children what their responsibilities may be. It may include bringing their bikes and toys inside the house, as a bike in the yard can be a hazardous missile with high winds.
Supplies: Discuss the types of supplies that are important to keep on hand during the hurricane season. Having this list prepared, and items stocked in the home can reduce panic if a warning is called. If your children understand why the special grocery supply exists, they are less likely to dip into it when you are at work!
Creating Hurricane Preparedness Kits are a great thing to do at the beginning of the season. You will want to include items such as candles, matches, flash lights, batteries, non-perishable foods, water, baby formula, wet wipes, personal hygiene products etc. There will be other items that will need to be added later such as medications. It’s a wise idea to store items in a water proof container such as plastic storage bin. This will be one less thing you will need to worry about if there is a hurricane warning in effect.
You will want to remind your little ones that when supplies are put aside at the beginning of the season they are not to be touched before you say it is okay. The last thing you want is to be double checking your kit during a hurricane warning and find out that little hands have been helping themselves to Vienna sausages, crackers or even the candies that you may have put in their for diabetic members of the family!
- First AID Kit: This is important to include in your kit. Be sure that your first aid kit is stocked with all the necessary supplies such as band aids, slings, rubbing alcohol and other things that are good to have on hand in general, and not just as a you are preparing for hurricane season.
You will also want to make sure that you have a battery operated radio on hand.
If you take the time to get these things in during the month of June, you will be a lot more relaxed if the TCI is under a hurricane threat. If we come under hurricane watch, you will know exactly where to start.
If the TCI is under threat you will want to add certain things to your kit such as your important documents stored in zip lock bags. Important documents may include a list of important phone numbers, passports, residence permits, NHIP cards, credit cards, and even some emergency cash, as you will want to have some on hand and available in the instance that the banks are not functional immediately after a hurricane.
You will also want to fill your car up with gas and turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. It’s a good idea to explain to your children why you are doing this as this will help to keep them calm. You will also want to make sure that you let them know the importance of not opening the fridge and freezer too often as you will want to be keeping them as cool as possible so that if the power is out for an extended period of time, you will still have access to cold items when you need them, and you will preserve your frozen goods for as long as possible.