Preparing for a hurricane disaster is a lot like Republicans planning a national convention.
Denial can end in disaster.
Okay. Okay. Election year fairness from the press. Democrats express their fair share of denial at conventions too.
But seriously folks, the Republican National Convention is expected to kick off on Monday, Aug. 27 for a four day run until Aug. 30, in Tampa, FL, swelling the normal crowds of tourists by as many as 50,000 additional visitors right in the eye of a hurricane threat.
Political differences aside, remember Debbie? She was just a tropical storm.
On Thursday, Aug. 23, the Weather Channel, still trying to accurately track the path and intensity of Tropical Storm Isaac, reported whichever track the storm takes, it’s likely to affect the U.S. as soon as Sunday, a day before the convention opens.
Tampa has the National Guard on standby and twice daily meetings with weather, government and convention officials, indicating officials are not using the Katrina Plan.
Unfortunately, individual households may not be taking the potential for damage, destruction, injury or loss of life seriously enough in a city bounded by waterways, navigated via a series of bridges which are typically the first elements of infrastructure to go in a storm.
Along with tens of thousands of visitors arriving with no previous hurricane experience, there’s the denial.
According to a national Allstate survey, 46 percent of Americans haven’t discussed or thought about a family evacuation plan or meeting place away from the home during a disaster.
Preparation can be a key to survival during a disaster and bad news gets worse fast when a disaster hits.
Most Americans, 62 percent, also have not prepared an emergency kit and that’s key because the same study says more than one in four won’t evacuate in an emergency that calls for them to leave the area.
On top of those two startling findings, more than one in four (27 percent) would stay put if ordered to evacuate, according to Allstate.
Always-on emergency preparedness basics
Experts say families should always have available a well-stocked food and first-aid kit (with any prescription drugs) as well as a disaster-supply or emergency kit that’s kept in an easy-to-access location.
The disaster-supply kit should contain a three-day supply of water and ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, a weather radio, traveler’s checks or cash, important papers, personal hygiene items, blankets, extra clothes and shoes.
Your gadgets, should you have internet access available, should have weather, emergency and related apps on board and plugged into your email, instant mail and other electronic points of access.
Always, or at least on the first news of potential impending disaster, keep lots of cash in your pocket and gas in your escape vehicle’s tank.
You should also have a written emergency preparedness and action plan for your family and/or business.
Decide where to go if you’re at home, school, work, outdoors, or in a car when a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Update these plans every school year and as places of employment and residence change. Identify two places where you and your family members can meet if you are separated: one outside your home and another outside your neighborhood.
Weather.com says don’t go further than you need to go but choose a low, strong building near town so you aren’t stranded so far from home you hit gridlock on the way out or back in.
Learn, in advance, how your local government handles emergencies by contacting your local American Red Cross chapter or local Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
Get more information on hurricane preparedness from Ready.gov.