As it starts to warm up and we’re counting down the days until that summer vacation, those in hurricane prone areas start getting multiple notices about disaster preparation. Many areas located along the coast have Offices of Emergency Management that help areas create preparation plans that help minimize damage and recover from the effects of the storm. Some key elements of preparation plans include assembling emergency kits, creating an emergency plan, and staying informed. Offices of Emergency Management help individuals and their families prepare for the storm by developing their own safety plans. With more people choosing to access information from their smartphones, disaster prep organizations are following suit, texting out information to affected areas and developing their own apps to provide information. Here are some helpful tools from a variety of sources to familiarize yourself with before a hurricane hits your area:
In recent years, the American Red Cross has developed a variety of free smartphone apps to help individuals be prepared whenever they need it. One for those in hurricane affected zones is their Hurricane app, available on the Apple App Store or Google Play. The app allows you to:
- Create a Hurricane Plan which allows you to plan before, during and after the storm
- Read and receive hurricane alerts in your area
- Stay updated on weather alerts in the areas that matter to you
- Tell your loved ones you are safe
- Locate the nearest shelter to you
FEMA has developed a free mobile app that is helpful for individuals across the country who experience different kinds of natural disasters. Some key features include:
- Severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to 5 locations
- Emergency safety information that is customized to you and your family including a list of items in your emergency kit and places to meet when a disaster occurs
- Maps of disaster recovery centers and shelters in your area
- Safety tips
- Ability to apply for federal disaster assistance via DisasterAssistance.gov
The Institute for Business and Home Safety has a plethora of resources to help you prepare or recuperate after a hurricane. One tool is their zip code tool which allows you to enter a zip code and find out what disasters may occur in your area so you can plan accordingly. They also provide information on whether your county is hail prone.
No matter which resource you choose to help you prepare for a hurricane this summer, it’s important to be as ready as you can before one strikes. Packing that emergency kit, having your check lists prepared and selecting a meeting point when things get bad are all little things you can do now to help you later.