Students should be storm ready
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 13:08
Twenty years ago, Hurricane Andrew decimated large areas of South Florida. Today, the valuable lesson still rings true about being prepared in the event of severe weather. Although Central Florida does not normally see much damage, anomalies such as 2004’s Hurricane Charley should serve as a reminder of the power and unpredictability of Mother Nature.
Last year, Florida saw 19 named systems, making up one of the most active seasons on record. This year’s season began early and weather experts are predicting more storms than initially anticipated.
With that said, students should be prepared this hurricane season. Those living in dorms should be especially prepared in case of an emergency. Students should be aware of impending weather and be up to date on the forecast. As UCF’s Office of Emergency Management advises, if Central Florida falls within the three-day cone of probability for a given storm’s projected pattern, students should prepare themselves with the necessary supplies and an evacuation plan. Students should also discuss these plans with relatives beforehand, especially those with family outside of the Central Florida area.
Think ahead regarding small details: Gas pumps and ATMs may be down during a storm or hurricane due to power outages, so stock up beforehand. Be advised of shelter locations in advance, and know the general route to get there, as you may not have access to a working phone or GPS navigation in the event of a storm. If possible, move your car into a parking garage to minimize damage. Know the extent of insurance coverage on all valuables.
Basic necessities should be easily accessible as well. These include flashlights, batteries, toiletries and a first aid kit, as well as plenty of bottled water and canned food. Students should have access to an emergency contact list, all prescription information and take precautionary measures by securing all electronics, bagging necessary paperwork or important documents and charging cellphones and laptops in advance in case of a power outage.
These steps might seem excessive now, but in the event of a sudden storm or hurricane, it truly is better to be safe than sorry. The UCF Office of Emergency Management website contains great tips, emergency phone numbers and checklists for students to use. All this information and more can be found on the website at emergency.ucf.edu/hurricanes.html.