Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Best to have plan for dangerous situations
By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 22, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2013 at 11:22 p.m.
The Gulf Coast area is a beautiful place to live in the spring. Every year, we enjoy warm weather with colorful wildflowers covering patches of the roadside, pastures and any other open spaces. But summer is just around the corner, and with the scorching heat, lack of rain and swarms of insects comes hurricane season.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30, according to the National Hurricane Center. This potential disaster threat comes every year without fail. As various speakers at the Mid Coast Hurricane and Disaster Conference at the Victoria Community Center on Thursday pointed out, being prepared is the most important part of hurricane safety. We may not face a direct hurricane threat every year, but the potential is always present, so we encourage our readers to have a plan in place for any potential hurricane disaster in our area.
The first part of being prepared is being able to know if a storm is approaching. You can't react to a potential emergency situation if you don't know it is coming. Thankfully, information is readily available for anyone willing to do a little research. Residents can go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website to find a map generator that shows what kind of risks their homes face during a hurricane, including flooding and storm surge.
Once residents know about potential disasters, they need to take steps to prepare. Have plans in place for multiple scenarios, including if your family is separated for any reason. Know how you plan to find each other or stay in contact. FEMA advises residents to keep a basic supplies kit that contains a three-day supply of water including a gallon per person per day, nonperishable food for three days, a manual can opener, a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, an alert whistle, moist towelettes, garbage bags, dust masks and a cellphone and charger. If your family plans to evacuate, the NHC advises residents to have a destination in mind and make sure to pack in plenty of time and inform family and friends of your plans. Follow the guidelines set down by area authorities and do not return to the affected area until officials say it is safe to do so.
The impulse to procrastinate until we know a hurricane is coming is an easy trap to fall into. But we see the pattern of procrastinate and panic over and over again. Residents who do not plan often rush to the store, buying out all the supplies of plywood, water, canned food and other essentials when they could have been prepared long ago. We encourage our readers to not fall into this trap. It is better to plan ahead and not need it than to lack necessary supplies during an emergency.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.