Now the time to prepare in case Irma visits


When there is one approaching, we have often used this space to warn readers that the best way to survive a hurricane is to prepare in advance for the worst while crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

That assignment seems easier after Oct. 8, 2016, as no one who lived through Hurricane Matthew doubts the urgency that such an event presents. Right now, all eyes are on Irma, a Category 5 hurricane that has Florida in its cross-hairs, and who knows where after that.

It is being called “potentially catastrophic,” and its arrival in the wake of Hurricane Harvey will surely put to test the Federal Emergency Management Agency while also stretching thin the eagerness of Americans to come to the aid of those who suffer the most in these events.

You have seen the spaghetti models, and as we write this no one can say with authority in which direction Irma will ricochet after colliding with South Florida. But there are plenty of forecast models that have Irma making its way northward across the Florida peninsula, a trip that we hope would sap it of some of its strength, and then entering North Carolina. Trying to guess where that would happen, should it, at this time is just a waste of time.

The point being, Irma might be headed this way, and if it comes look for its effects to begin being felt locally early next week. So now is the time to prepare.

A good first step might be to clip today’s Our View and attach it to the refrigerator and use it as a checklist.

So what should your hurricane kit include? The following, according to the National Hurricane Center, but by no means would we consider it comprehensive. You can lengthen it as you see fit.

— Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

— Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

— Extra clothes, and baby and pet supplies as needed.

— Battery-powered or a hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.

— Flashlight.

— First aid kit.

— Extra batteries.

— A whistle with which to signal for help.

— Dust mask to help filter contaminated air.

— Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

— Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

— Manual can opener for food.

— Local maps.

— Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

— Camera, to take photographs of damage.

— Plenty of cash.

The other need is a plan. We would begin with a car that has a full tank of gasoline.

Also:

— Make sure your emergency supplies are contained, perhaps in a waterproof backpack, which can be grabbed and taken in a hurry.

— Discuss an evacuation plan with family members, and a way to contact each other should you get separated.

— Cover your home’s windows with plywood or hurricane shutters, which will provide protection against high winds that can cause property damage and injuries.

— Bring all of your outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down inside. That will keep them from become airborne missiles.

— Trim trees and shrubs regularly, which strengthens them against the wind.

— Turn off utilities as instructed by authorities.

— If your utilities can remain on, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. This will help preserve food should there be a power failure.

— Turn off propane tanks.

You can add to that list as you see fit. We hope it turns out to be a waste of time.

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