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June 22, 2001

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IN RETROSPECT

Hurricane Season is Here

By Bill and Lisa Rhan
Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinators

Top hurricane experts from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said May 21 the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season likely will have normal levels of activity, bringing fewer storms than the past three years. However, officials advised residents in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states to be prepared for storms, high winds and flooding throughout the season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30. There has already been one tropical storm in the Atlantic named Allison that formed June 5.

Are you prepared for the hurricane season? The conference’s Disaster Response Ministries offers the following tips to help you have a safe season.

Enter the Season Prepared!

If you live in a coastal area, identify your evacuation route. Get information on emergency planning in your area by contacting your local Emergency Management office.

Advisories and Warnings!

A “hurricane watch” is issued when a hurricane becomes a threat to coastal areas. A “hurricane warning” is issued when hurricane winds or a combination of dangerously high water and very roughs seas are expected in a specific coastal area within 24 hours. Your local Emergency Management Office will keep you informed by using the local media, such as television and radio.

Get Ready!

  • Keep tuned to a local radio or television station for the latest advisories.
  • Check battery powered equipment such as radios and flashlights. Buy extra batteries.
  • Keep your car fueled in case evacuation is necessary. Service stations may be inoperable after the storm.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs or bottles.
  • Obtain extra prescription medications.
  • Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters.
  • Secure outdoor objects. Garbage cans, porch furniture and toys can become deadly missiles in hurricane winds.
  • Moor your boat securely before the storm arrives, or move it to a safe area early. Do not stay on the boat or you may drown.
  • Leave early from low-lying beach areas. Leave mobile homes for more substantial shelter.
  • Some areas flood long before the storm arrives. Don’t get caught by the hurricane on an open coastal road.
  • If local government advises evacuation of your area, DO SO IMMEDIATELY.
  • Be alert for tornado watches and warnings. If your area receives a warning, seek shelter in an interior bathroom or small hall, preferably below ground level.

During the Hurricane!

Remain indoors. Blowing debris can kill. Be wary of the “eye” and the brief lull in winds. On the other side of the eye, winds will rapidly increase and blow from the opposite direction.

After the Hurricane Has Passed!

  • If you are in a public shelter, remain there until informed that it is safe to leave.
  • Keep tuned to the local radio or television station for advice about emergency medical, food, housing and other forms of assistance.
  • Stay clear of disaster areas. Your presence may interfere with recovery work.
  • Do not use the telephone except for rescue, serious injuries or emergencies.
  • Do not drive unless you must. Roads should be left clear for emergency vehicles and may be dangerous from debris or damage.
  • Avoid loose or dangling wires. Report them to your power company or local police. Report broken sewer, gas or water mains.
  • Prevent fires. Don’t use candles.
  • Check buildings for possible collapse before re-entry.
  • If power has been cut off, check refrigerated food for spoilage.

Your Disaster Response Team

The Florida Conference Disaster Response Team is working to help, prepare and respond. It keeps in close contact with local churches, officials and organizations to unite community efforts and foster close relationships. The United Methodist Church makes every effort to respond to a disaster situation as soon as possible.

Response efforts continue throughout the year with training, awareness, and food and supply collections for the supply depot in High Springs. Disaster Response Ministries maintains a large truck for transporting goods. If you would like more information on how you can help, contact Bill or Lisa Rhan at 386-454-7775. Financial contributions can be made through your local church, designated “Conference Disaster Response #717.” We hope you have a safe season.

“In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me.” (Mt. 25:40)


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  2001 Florida United Methodist Review Online