(RxWiki News) When a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning is underway, there is more you can do that anxiously watch news weather forecasts. You can prepare.
Taking steps to protect your life, your loved ones and your property can reduce the damage from a hurricane or tropical storm.
"Prepare for an oncoming hurricane or tropical storm."
First, learn and store numbers and addresses of necessary references. This includes the local emergency management office, law enforcement and public safety, hospitals, utilities and Red Cross.
Also know which TV stations and radio stations will keep you updated, and gather the contact information for your family, including your property insurance agent and nearby relatives who could help or need help.
Keep all of this information in hard copy form. If your cell phone or computer dies or can't be charged in a storm, it doesn't do you much help.
Next, gather information about your risks. Hurricanes bring flooding, high winds, tornadoes, rip currents and heavy rainfall.
How vulnerable is your home to each of these? Do you have sheds, a boat or other items which are vulnerable?
Next, put together a basic disaster supplies kit that includes three days worth of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, towelettes, a manual can opener, local maps and a whistle.
The kit should also include dust masks for contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape for shelter if necessary. More suggestions can be found at the government's ready.gov website.
Then develop a plan for your family and pets. Know locations away from home where you can stay and have plans for how to transport and care for your pets.
This means having enough food and water for your pets and planning to take them with you during an evacuation. Also have a clear, current photo of you with your pet, an extra collar and leash, a pet carrier or kennel and any favorite toys, medications or special diets they need.
Bring with you veterinary records with information on your pet's name, species, breed, sex, color, distinctive markings, age, microchip ID number, vaccination records, health conditions and required medication. Also have your veterinarian's name and contact info.
If you have a boat, prepare it for the storm by bringing it on shore from the marina or otherwise securing it.
If you have livestock, make sure their shelters are sturdy or move them to a facility that will be able to withstand the storm.
Calculate and plan for the feed and water requirements for your livestock or poultry and cover outside feed and water troughs.
Finally, educate yourself on what to expect during and after an evacuation. The government offers much information on their Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA), National Weather Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.
Experiencing a natural disaster can lead to mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. These are just as serious as any physical health condition, so you should seek help if you or a loved one has symptoms of these conditions.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected in the area warned, so preparations should be immediately completed.
A hurricane watch means the conditions for a hurricane are possible, so be ready to start making preparations and watch the news to stay up to date on the weather forecasts.
Similarly a tropical storm warning means a tropical storm is expected within 36 hours.
It's impossible for humans to control the weather. But we can be ready for it and make sure we minimize the possible harm to our family and property.