By Amanda Epstein and Alexa Foodim
It was big, it was powerful, it was deadly, and it was extreme! Hurricane Matthew, the first category 5 hurricane in a decade, wiped out many homes and left many family members devastated. The hurricane impacted Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas before it even reached the United States. There have been over 1,000 reported deaths from this storm, which has become one of the worst in the books. Storms like these can cause major issues such as power outages, gas shortages, damaged crops and fallen trees, broken cars, ruined homes, dramatic flooding, and loss of life. Sometimes there is no escape, but oftentimes forecasters see this coming and do their best to warn people providing them with enough time to evacuate areas that will potentially be targeted. We were very fortunate that the damage wasn’t worse when Superstorm Sandy ravaged Long Island, but what if it happens again? What if a more powerful storm heads our way? What happens when disasters occur, and what can we do to help those affected in dangerous situations like these?
It often begins days, even a week, before the storm is actually predicted to impact your town. Before anything else, go to the supermarket and stock up on water and non-perishable food. Individual water bottles are easy to transport and can be sealed and resealed to prevent contamination, so they are essential to prepare for a potentially dangerous hurricane or other type of natural disaster. Canned food is also very important to keep because it does not expire, unlike other foods that can become stale and can make you sick. Batteries are something you should also always have on hand, along with a radio to hear the news and any special instructions being relayed to the public and flashlights in case the power goes out. Make sure you charge your phone because it can be a very scary situation, and without a phone, it will be near impossible to find someone to help you or to check on the welfare of your loved ones. It is also important to know the location of a local shelter, as well as having the local police department and fire department phone numbers readily available. Make sure you go to the gas station and fill up all cars with a full tank of gas. Bring two extra gas bottles that are very large so that if there ends up being a shortage of gas like there has been in the past, you will be prepared. If your family is lucky and has a generator to keep your house running, then getting gas is very important for more than just your cars. Finally, pay attention to the news in case the town that you live in is instructed to evacuate. Often times, many people who did not listen wind up having to leave later on, and it can become very difficult when it’s already too late.
We hope that we are never faced with a disaster such as a category five hurricane, but should we ever find ourselves in danger’s path, we hope these tips help you and your family get through it safely.
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