As Hurricane Matthew, the first Category 5 hurricane since 2007, heads straight for Florida and other susceptible areas, many minds are turning to their emergency preparedness plans or the lack thereof. Preparing for emergencies is a directive from the Lord given through modern-day prophets. President Thomas S. Monson said in 2014:
Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?
We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.
Because of this prophetic counsel, members of the Church around the world have committed to emergency preparedness. As disaster seems to loom (and hopefully much before it ever arrives), this knowledge needs to be shared. Below is an extremely easy to follow list detailing how to survive a hurricane from LDS author and emergency preparedness expert Sam Spencer, as found in his book, Caught Prepared: 25 Simple Steps to Protect Your Family in an Emergency.
Before a Hurricane Hits
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. (Here are some great pre-made kits, including auto and medical kits). Power is often the firs
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and where to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you need to evacuate.
- Reinforce your garage doors. If wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down.
- Install a generator for emergency power.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the tenth floor.
During a Hurricane
- Listen to the radio or TV for information. (This is a radio specifically designed for emergencies)
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure any outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Moor your boat if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency.
- Avoid elevators.
When to Evacuate
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure. Such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes, no matter how well fastened they are to the ground.
- If you live in a high-rise building. Hurrican winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
If You Are Unable to Evacuate
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull. It could be the eye of the storm. Winds could pick up again.
- Stay in a small interior room, closet, hallway, on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
After a Hurricane
- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
- If you have been separated from your family, you can contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
- If you are evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- If you cannot return home and have nowhere to stay, text SHELTER plus your zip code (for example SHELTER 12345) to 4FEMA (43362) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.