Hurricane Preparedness: More than Water and a Candle

This article is directed towards the topic of hurricane sensibility. My concerns for the population residing within hurricane prone areas nagged at me until I sat down at my laptop to compose this article. Although my inscription will be elementary in comparison to the writings of those educated in disaster preparedness, I hope to enlighten as many as possible.

In the past, I resided in areas indigenous to tornadoes, earthquake fault lines, and presently hurricanes. Therefore, whenever someone inquires how I can feel comfortable living in a hurricane prone area, I find it effortless to provide a halfway-educated answer.

We live in Pensacola, Florida where hurricane Ivan and Dennis made their debut in less than a year. Additionally, that year brought us numerous tropical storms. We have always evacuated in plenty of time to avoid injury or death of my family members or myself. Areas prone to tornadoes are struck with diminutive or no warning. People living in areas where earthquakes are indigenous have no forewarning before the earth starts to shake and buildings collapse upon them. We have full warning when a hurricane is approaching.

Living in an area with palm trees, snow-white sand beaches, and weather so warm, you can wear shorts ten months out of a year is awesome. Most of the time, the Gulf of Mexico is stunning, with water so clear you can see your feet whilst standing waist deep. We are blessed to awaken in a vacation retreat each morning. In addition, I am thankful that we have the resources available to be informed when a storm is approaching rather than obtaining a 5-minute warning to vacate the area. Several areas prone to natural disasters are not as fortunate. Fortunately, we have not had our home destroyed, my heart goes out to those that have. We appreciate having such a lengthy warning to get out of its way.

I offer this straightforward advice to everyone who will listen. Always have an emergency plan to vacate your family from the path of a hurricane. The few days before the hurricane lands, should be used to implement your plan, instead of devising one. This is especially critical to those that are handicapped, elderly, or indigent. Contact the American Red Cross, your local churches, law enforcement, public transportation, or any number of help agencies in your area for assistance. If necessary, reach out to the governor�s office and ask how you can get assistance to evacuate the area. Do not remain within the path of a horrific storm hundreds of miles wide and containing at least 74 mile an hour wind. This monstrous storm has winds capable of impaling a two by four with a straw whilst spewing tornadoes in every direction. It is within its capability to create a storm surge so rapidly that it leaves no hope for escape. It can wipe away an entire city with one quick sweep, yet it will continue for hours.

All hurricane activity assessed to be elevated beyond a category two will set in motion the assembling of my family and the retreat to safety in a distant state. Ultimately, we will sit securely in front of a television monitoring the hurricane progress, praying for our city and for individuals who opted to stay. Only after rescue and law enforcement officials have stabilized the area by assessing damages and securing the area, will we return. There is no desire to stay in a sweltering hot, humid place to be picked apart by mosquitoes and angered wildlife. Although I find the meals that FEMA distributes to be very delicious as well as nutritious, it is my opinion that we assist the community better by evacuating until officials announce we may return. I have to confess, waiting in a lengthy line in sweltering weather, within a storm-ravaged area to obtain a melting bag of ice, rations and bottled water is not appealing.

Sometimes I am concerned about the thought process of numerous people living in these areas. A large number of these people state they are not worried, they will buy provisions and sit it out. I have yet to hear of anyone farther north jumping in front of a tornado while exclaiming, �Give me a bottle of water, a candle, and I will take this thing on!� (A tornado is a much smaller version of a hurricane). If they did and survived, I am confident someone would have him assessed at a nearby mental facility. So why are we accepting of others staying through a hurricane? You are risking not only the lives of your family, but also the lives of people who come in to rescue you. Please immediately vacate all areas under order to evacuate. People will be risking their own lives to rescue you if you do not.

During the aftermath of hurricane Ivan, everyone was appreciative of the volunteers that came from within the U.S. as well as other countries to assist in the stabilization and repairing of our infrastructure. I was witness to several Canadian electrical trucks outlining the roads, as their workers were perched atop electrical poles repairing the chaos the storm had created. Their kindness and assistance was like angels from heaven paying us a visit. I never complained they were not fast enough; I praised them because they were here. In addition, I was grateful to their families for sharing them with us.

There are forces of nature that we cannot be prepared for, that can cause death and destruction. A hurricane is not one of them and it is asinine to entertain dangers we can avoid. You will never see me grab a candle and a Dasani and stand in front of a tornado, strap a saddle on the house to wait for an aftershock or wait in the path of a dangerous hurricane.

I have no desire to be informed of how many people have survived in the past, I am concerned about the one that will not. In reflection on a scene from the movie Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan was hanging on the crows nest during a hurricane cursing and screaming into the wind. I feel confident the actors would never have tried this feat in real life, so why would the residents of a coastal city behave in this manner?

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. --Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), Strength to Love, 1963.


Rhiannon Waits is a syndicated columnist with her column published in 14 different countries and translated into 4 different languages. You can purchase "Little Lessons on Love And Life" at Amazon.comLittle Lessons on Love And Life, book private sessions, schedule speaking engagements, or attend book signings by calling 850-941-4190. You can also visit her web site at RhiannonWaits.com. Rhia lives in Pensacola Florida with her life partner, Steve, and her children. Rhiannon Waits is a renowned Psychic/Medium.