The Cop Column
Things Not to do This Hurricane Season
Are you ready for hurricane season? That's no longer an academic question. Until recent years, only a few of us took hurricane preparedness seriously. For obvious reasons, many gulf coast residents are now avid amateur hurricane trackers.
In the past, this annual hurricane preparedness column has been a "to-do" list. This year, let's look at a few things NOT to do:
1-Do not make plans based on hurricane season forecasts. The year-to-year and longer term forecasts are fascinating, andthis year, I'll be watching to see if more of the storms head up the Atlantic coast, as many experts have predicted. But I'll also keep in mind the advice of an Emergency Management Director several years ago: "There could be 50 storms, but if none hit us, we'll say it was a slow year. If there's only one storm, but it comes in on top of us, it's a busy year."
not assume the next storm will be like the last. As Katrina approached last
year, eight dolphins and 14 sea lions at the Marine Life Oceanarium in
not evacuate if you don't need to. If you're not in an area that may go
underwater, get into a sturdy building and prepare to ride out the storm. The
old conventional wisdom of evacuating as far inland as possible is not
necessarily appropriate. When Opal hit the
4-Do not get lost after the storm. If you do leave the area, take a road map. Even if you stay home, you may need a local road map to help find alternate routes if familiar roads are not available.
5-Do not flag down power company trucks. The same report comes to us from Gulf Power, Chelco, and other utilities companies after every storm: well-intentioned residents reporting power outages and asking questions are interfering with the work of crews in the field.
6-Don't run out of underwear. After the storm, you may not be able to do the laundry for several days. Get caught up on all routine chores before a hurricane hits.