East Coast Current

2022 Hurricane Season: Prepare for the Worst

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Volusia County’s coastal communities continue to prepare during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. The annual season begins June 1 through November 31 with storms peaking in August and September. Hurricane Irma (September 2017) and Hurricane Dorian (August 2019) are noted as major storm systems to have directly affected the area. In some cases, New Smyrna Beach homeowners are still finalizing repairs from an unusual hail storm (March 2022). This year, as in every year, locals hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Ideally, residents already have emergency plans in place for themselves and their properties. A plan includes methods for emergency communication with family, preparing emergency supplies, checking the property’s insurance coverage and identifying a community’s evacuation plan. 

The internet is conveniently packed with digital hurricane preparedness toolkits to help the general public establish a sound emergency plan. The website, Ready.gov, is a national public awareness campaign. It includes links to graphics, videos and social media posts regarding hurricane preparedness. 

Before and during hurricane season, make sure a property is in good repair and meets local hurricane building codes, declutter drains and gutters, trim trees, secure loose outdoor items and plan a safe location to move vehicles during a hurricane. 

To prepare for an approaching storm, it is recommended to secure windows and doors, reinforce roof and garage doors, have a disaster supply kit, use the safe-room concept, plan for the whole family’s health and welfare and provide security for valuables and important documents. 

Across the county, bridges will be locked down when winds reach a sustained speed of 39 miles per hour or a land evacuation is ordered. First responders and emergency vehicles will not be able to access beachside locations in case of emergency until the lockdown is lifted. 

Plan for 72-hour survival and to include the following items in a hurricane kit: non-perishable foods, water, first aid kit, personal hygiene and sanitation items, flashlights, extra batteries, waterproof wallets and file folders for cash and important documents, manual can opener, lighter or matches, special needs items for pets and young children, coolers, ice packs and a plan in case family members are separated.

If forced to evacuate, create a kit of supplies that can travel well. A kit will also be helpful if residents are able to stay in their homes, but are affected by the storm, such as a power outage. A common trend during approaching hurricanes is a widespread panic. People rush in large numbers to get supplies. Preparing a kit ahead of time can alleviate potential stress and chaotic situations. 

Residents can prepare and stay informed by downloading the Volusia County EM app, available for free on the Google Play or App Store. The app features weather alerts and current conditions, preparedness checklists, links to county sites, locations of the nearest open shelter and sandbags locations, evacuation information, push notifications and more. Residents can also follow Volusia County Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates related to Volusia County.

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