From Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
Hurricane season began June 1 and goes through the month of November. From high winds to tornadoes and flooding, hurricanes can present a variety of severe weather. It is important to be aware of these weather threats and risks as well as to do your part in preparing yourself and families for this as well as community neighbors.
Before, during, and after severe weather, Orange County along with other local organizations work to protect the community and keep things functioning. Orange County is able to help citizens to stay informed with Emergency Communication. Orange County can warn citizens about storms and hurricanes through television, radio, phone calls, text messages, and emails. Take the warnings seriously rather than waiting until it could be too late to get prepared. Orange County Emergency Debris Removal sends out crews as soon as it is safe to clear trees and other debris from public roads. Orange County Emergency Response Team is designed to handle large-scale incidents requiring a response by multiple members of the agency. County professionals are trained to provide manpower and support during search and recovery operations. For emergencies during a storm, call 911, but depending on conditions there could be delays in getting help. For non-emergency needs, call 311 for any information, questions, concerns, or to report damages or power outages. Let professionals handle needs during storms and stay off the roads to avoid more incidents and keep pathways clear of those that do not need to be on roads so that emergency and clean-up crews can safely and timely make it out to get things back to order.
In planning ahead, some advised things to do are such as to create a family emergency communication plan (a meeting spot perhaps and knowing important family and general emergency phone numbers to contact), prepare a disaster supply kit, know the local hurricane evacuation route and shelter locations, and protect your home. Some suggested items for a disaster supply kit (suggested by the National Hurricane Center – http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php as well as https://www.ready.gov/kit) are water (one gallon for each person for at least three days to be used both drinking and sanitation), food (a supply of non-perishable food for at least three days), a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both, a flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, manual can opener for food, local maps, and a cell phone with (portable) chargers, inverter or solar charger. Be sure to not only have a preparedness plan for your family but also for your pets. Stock up early on items that you will need. Do not wait until the last minute and risk not getting necessary items in time. A lot of people go out shopping right before storms so it is likely that stores may run low on popular items.
In preparing for approaching severe weather, and specifically in preparing your home to be protected, be sure that you take inside any yard toys or furniture that could easily blow around in the high winds go through a window or do other damage. Also, protect and reinforce windows to decrease the likelihood of them being broken or damaged. In severe weather, anything may become a projectile and hence do damage, so do not only protect yourself but also protect your neighbors when you protect yourself and vice versa as items from your property may blow onto theirs. Exchange contact information with neighbors and know if and who will be home during the severe weather to check on each other throughout the storm. In the case of if a tornado pops up, know where the safest and nearest place to take shelter is and have backup plans. Try to go to a low and inner room of a building away from windows should a tornado become a nearby weather threat. Do not go outside or return to your home if you evacuate until authorities have clearly marked things as safe and the storm has completely passed.
Children may feel anxious or nervous about the severe weather, so families can make the best of waiting it out to enjoy some time together playing card games or other fun activities to calm and distract the minds of all. Be sure any bonding activities to pass the time are indoors in safe locations, though.
For more details, go here.