Hurricane Preparedness Week Begins

May 16, 2005

With predictions being made that this year’s hurricane season is likely to be as bad as last year’s, which ended with 15 named storms, nine hurricanes and six bad ones, Hurricane Preparedness Week is kicking off across the southeastern states with everyone involved with hurricane readiness becoming involved with planning meetings and public appearances in which they are urging citizens to prepare for the worst.

Recent studies by several different organizations have indicated that even residents living where last year’s hurricanes scored direct hits, are unprepared for this year’s hurricane season.

In the meantime, numerous local hardware and lumber stores are stocking disaster kits, batteries, first-aid supplies and other essentials. A few other basic items you should keep in your hurricane kit include canned goods, flashlights, a battery operated radio and eating utensils.

In Florida, the governor is expected to sign legislation this week eliminating state tax on hurricane-related purchases. Florida stores expect most homeowners are waiting for the tax-free days and will then be stocking up on batteries, tape and other hurricane supplies they expect to need during the hurricane season.

Hurricanes are an expensive and often deadly fact of life along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf states.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll of our hurricane readiness and attitudes is especially disturbing. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed along the East and Gulf coasts said they felt “not too” or “not at all” vulnerable to the dangers of hurricanes, a denial of reality and, perhaps, a defiance of Mother Nature that will one day prove deadly.

The poll found that a quarter of respondents believe they can escape an approaching hurricane if they leave a half hour before landfall. A half hour before a storm comes ashore, many roads will be flooded, and those that aren’t will be gridlocked.

The poll also found that one in four people would do nothing to prepare for a storm, even after a watch or warning was issued, and that 47 percent had no disaster plan. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said that masking tape would keep windows from shattering (it won’t) and almost nobody knew that garage doors are usually the first thing to go.

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