Expect the unexpected

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With the 2018 hurricane season upon us, it is safe to say that last year’s catastrophes have not been forgotten. The destruction and damages resulting from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey just about a year ago left millions of people in devastation.

Although it is uncertain whether storms as powerful as Irma and Harvey will strike this season, it is always imperative to prepare for the worst. Even if the meteorologists predict a hurricane to strike a certain section of Florida, unexpected twists and turns in its projected path can lead to mass destruction, as Hurricane Andrew demonstrated in 1992. However, people outside the projected hurricane cone expect the meteorologists’ predicted path to be accurate, and as a result, do not account for a potential turn during their preparation. Expecting the unexpected is the main factor in bracing for impact, as is being aware of the unpredictability associated with hurricanes. For this reason, preparing as though a category five hurricane were about to make direct impact with your area is often the best thought process when your awaiting a storm’s approach.

The first step in preparing for a hurricane is fortifying the outside of your home and attempting to shield most damage and destruction from the high winds, debris and frequent downpours. Having hurricane-proof windows is a proven way to prevent the destruction; however, it is an expensive option. Other ways that you can recommend to your parents to hurricane-proof windows include buying hurricane shutters or using plywood to barricade windows and doors from flying debris. Not only do the high winds and rain pose a threat to windows, but the roof is at risk as well. In extreme cases, some areas of the roof that are unprotected are subject to flying off. To reduce the chances of this, your parents should invest in hurricane straps to fasten the roof to the rest of the home’s structure, thus protecting it.

Another way to prepare for potential damage is to assess the surrounding environment around your home. Many homes are surrounded by tall trees, shrubbery and gardens which are at risk of falling or being torn from the ground in the event of a powerful hurricane. To prevent this from happening, it is widely recommended that parents have these trees are either tied down, to prevent falling, or trimmed, to reduce damages. Loose pots or outdoor furniture can become a safety hazard as a result of high winds and should be brought inside.

Now that the outside of your home is prepared for the impact of the hurricane, it is equally as important to prepare for the other difficulties. For instance, stocking up on loads of extra water bottles will come in handy if your home’s power suddenly goes out, leaving you with limited access to clean water. Additionally, during a power outage, you should purchase non perishable foods, as refrigeration will not be an option to sustain other perishable items. Batteries and portable chargers for electronic devices are also a necessity, as there will likely be no other way to charge devices. In addition, fill your family’s cars with gas and stock up on extra gas tanks for a grill if you have one. If you have medications, these should purchase in abundance as well. It is important that you buy these items before the storm’s impact, as roads may be closed due to safety hazards.

Now that you have acquired the necessities to have when a hurricane strikes, some other items may prove to be extremely helpful during the storm. Top on the list would be having your parents purchase a generator in case of an extended power outage, which will provide power to the home. In addition, flashlights, battery operated radios or even handheld fans when the air condition does not work are all ways to make a power outage during a hurricane somewhat easier.

As the hurricane season quickly comes and slowly passes, it is vital that you prepare as best you can and as early as possible. However, sometimes despite how much you hunker down for an approaching hurricane, the storm will win the battle with its powerful winds and rain, as last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Harvey showed. Regardless of the situation and what the meteorologists may say, expecting the unexpected and preparing for the worst is the best path to follow, because at the end of the day, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Sammy Rosenthal is a sophomore at American Heritage School in Plantation Fla. and is entering his second year writing for the newsmagazine. Outside of composing various articles, Sammy works as the presentation coordinator for Black, Gold and Green and volunteers at numerous community service projects such as the David Posnack JCC. As a die-hard Miami Heat and Dolphins fan, he loves tuning in to/attending any game he can in addition to playing both sports in his free time.

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