Prepared For A Catastrophic Failure
Of Modern Services
The Essentials of life article series covers the basics of sustaining life with an emphasis on both urban and wilderness places.
Hurricane Preparation and Survival Planning Part 2
Part 1 Part 3
Planning For The Danger of High Winds and Hurricane Survival
The intensity of a land falling hurricane is expressed in terms of category numbers that relate to wind speeds and potential damage. The categories are numbers from 1 to 5. When planning for your families safety and survival it is vital to understand the meaning of hurricane category numbers. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (the scale used to measure hurricane intensity and danger), a Category 1 hurricane has lighter winds and presents less danger to your survival when compared to storms in higher category numbers, meaning the higher the number the more dangerous the storm is. A Category 4 hurricane would have winds between 131 and 155 mph and, on average, would usually be expected to cause 100 times the damage of the Category 1 storm. This obviously effects your chances of survival. Remember also, your families survival plan requires as much advanced warning as possible, especially for very dangerous storms, monitor local forecasts on radio, TV and by internet. Be ready to prepare for, and use, your families survival plan well ahead of time. If a dangerous hurricane approaches, your escape route and survival will be put in jeopardy if you wait to long to act on your plan. Gather your survival kit and discuss your survival plan when a storm forms and starts to move your direction. This will insure that you a prepared to implement your plan without last minute problems that may hurt your chances for survival. Depending on circumstances, less intense storms may still be strong enough to produce damage, particularly in areas that have not prepared in advance. Planning includes boarding up windows and any glass ahead of time, even if you plan to evacuate, covering glass can minimize the damage to your property after your evacuation. The fact that a category 4 storm can cause 100 times the damage of a category one storm highlights the importance of planning to survive a hurricane. We have seen many tragic circumstances in recent years of those who thought their plan was adequate to survive a storm, only to find that a powerful hurricane can test your survival even in the best circumstances. Plan well and include a evacuation route and evacuation survival kit as well as a home survival kit. By making a comprehensive plan, covering all the bases, your family will be prepared to survive even the worst of possible storms. If you are prepared and a storm suddenly intensifies you will be able to evacuate on a moments notice. This means less traffic and a greater chance you will escaper the danger.
Tropical storm-force winds are strong enough to be dangerous to those caught in them. For this reason, emergency managers plan on having their evacuations complete and their personnel sheltered before the onset of tropical storm-force winds, not hurricane-force winds. You can use this same guide in your survival plan. Prepare to evacuate or be sheltered before the rain bands and wind arrive.
Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Your survival will be in great jeopardy if you stay in such a structure. Plan to evacuate well ahead of time if you live in a unsheltered location or a mobile home. There is little you can do once the storm arrives and your home is damaged. There is plenty you can do though, if you plan ahead and survive the storm. All other damage can and will be taken care of with time. If you or your family are injured, or worse, there is little that can be accomplished. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and even small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes and threaten your survival. Extensive damage to trees, towers, water and underground utility lines (from uprooted trees), and fallen poles cause considerable disruption, this should also be considered in your survival plan. Your survival kit should contain such necessary items such as food and water as well as a good flashlight, medical kit, emergency shelter and tools needed to escape your home (through the roof if necessary) and to turn off utilities if needed.
High-rise buildings are also vulnerable to hurricane-force winds, particularly at the higher levels since wind speed tends to increase with height. Recent research suggests you should stay below the tenth floor, but still above any floors at risk for flooding. It is not uncommon for high-rise buildings to suffer a great deal of damage due to windows being blown out. Consequently, the areas around these buildings inside and out can be very dangerous.
The strongest winds usually occur in the right side of the eyewall of the hurricane. Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours after landfall. Nonetheless, winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. Hurricane Hugo (1989), for example, battered Charlotte, North Carolina (which is 175 miles inland) with gusts to nearly 100 mph. Even if you don't live directly on the coast it is still important to have a evacuation and survival plan, to keep a survival kit and evacuation kit ( a dual purpose, portable kit) available, many other disasters can also call for similar action.
HIGH WIND SURVIVAL ACTIONS - before hurricane season
HIGH WIND SAFETY ACTIONS - as a hurricane approaches
Tornado Safety Actions - Homes
Tornado Safety Actions - Mobile and Manufactured Homes
Tornado Safety Actions - Offices, Condominiums and Hotels
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