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Hope for the best, plan for the worst

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

Published: 06/01/2011 by Broward Family Life staff

» Household Safety

How many named storms are there likely to be during the hurricane season that starts this month? Nine? 15? 19? 17? 22? The storm experts may differ on the details, but they all agree on one thing: every family must be prepared.

According to an analysis by scientists at Colorado State University, the likelihood a storm will hit the continental U.S. this year is 72 percent, far higher odds than usual.Last year, not a single hurricane struck the U.S. coastline, and Florida hasn’t had a major hit since Wilma in 2005. Does that mean the odds are against the Sunshine State this year? Maybe yes, maybe no. But are you willing to gamble with your family’s safety by getting caught unprepared?

“We believe that this season should experience well above-average activity,” CSU climate experts Phil Klotzbach and William Gray wrote in their annual report.But the odds are not the issue, they say.“It is recommended that all vulnerable coastal residents make the same hurricane preparations every year, regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is... It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season.”

In a major disaster, emergency workers May not be able to reach everyone right away, and in some cases it may take three or more days for help to arrive. What would you do if you had no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service — and a family to care for?

Having a disaster plan will help ensure your family’s safety and comfort during difficult times. Getting started may seem overwhelming, but the Florida Division of Emergency Management offers a great online tool to help you devise a personalized plan based on your family’s circumstances.See www.floridadisaster.org/family.

In addition, there’s an area especially for kids, so they can better understand weather events and feel more secure in cases of emergency. The website includes stories, games, coloring pages, a kids’ disaster plan kit and more. It’s a great activity to do together, long before a storm threatens.
See www.kidsgetaplan.com.

“Our intention is to reach every family in Florida and teach them about being prepared,” says Bryan Koon, Director of Emergency Management. “With these online applications, parents as well as children can be prepared for any potential disaster Florida may face.”

Stormy Weather

Hurricane season is here again, and that means it’s time for all pet owners to plan for their pets’ safety before, during and after a hurricane.

For cat and dog owners, Broward County Animal Care recommends that a pet survival kit be prepared using a waterproof covered container. The kit should include enough food, kitty litter and bottled water for two weeks. Extra leashes and collars are helpful.

Dog owners should also store cleaning supplies and puppy training pads in case your dog cannot go outside due to severe weather. In addition, your kit should have copies of your pet’s rabies certificate and Broward County license.

Always be sure that your pet is current on its vaccinations and that it is wearing its Broward County license on a secure collar. The license is the easiest way to identify your pet in case it gets lost due to the storm. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet, as well.

If you plan to stay at a shelter, Millenium Middle School in Tamarac is the only shelter that will accept pets.It has a limited capacity.Residents must pre-register with the Humane Society of Broward County by calling 954-266-6871. To be eligible, pets must be current with their rabies vaccination, licensed and crated. They will be kept in an area separate from their owners.

For more information on storm preparations, see www.humanebroward.com or www.broward.org.