By Tommy Deal
This week, May 25-31, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week — a national public education effort to provide information about hurricane hazards and present useful knowledge and action steps in the event of a hurricane. Below you will find a few facts about hurricanes and suggestions for how you and your church can prepare for one of these storms.
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure and wind damage potential. With wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or more, Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are major and potentially devastating according to this scale. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can also cause damage and injuries.
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30 with a peak season that stretches from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
In advance of a hurricane, be prepared to evacuate when ordered to do so, strengthen your home’s outer shell, elevate electrical panels and utilities, waterproof your basements and consider purchasing flood insurance.
To prepare for a hurricane:
- · Know your sources of information
- · Prepare your home and workplace
- · Develop an emergency communications plan
- · Know what to do in the event of a hurricane
Please prepare for your family and your church. Every family should have an evacuation plan that includes a list of items to take such as medication and pets. Every church needs a plan to check on at-risk congregants and state how facilities may be used (if not damaged) for church, community or relief volunteers.
For additional information, please consult this helpful online resource from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) titled: “How to Prepare for a Hurricane.”
Tommy Deal is the U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Contact Deal email@example.com or (706) 313-5066.