Hurricane Matthew has become the most powerful tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean in close to ten years. The storm hit Haiti early Tuesday and toppled trees, flattened homes and swept animals away. A trail of destruction was left in the hurricane’s wake. As of the latest reports, only two deaths have been reported in the country.
Officials are concerned that the death toll will rise as Matthew moves toward the states. At last report, Matthew had sustained winds of 145 mph as it made landfall in Haiti. There were a number of shelters set up in areas that were expected to be the hardest hit, but many people chose to remain in their homes for fear of looters.
The strength of the storm and its expected path is prompting people in Florida to brace for impact. Officials are warning residents to prepare for the hurricane and are offering these tips to help people do so.
People should be aware of the evacuation area for their city. Keep an eye on the forecast and be realistic about your home’s vulnerability. If people do not know where to go for shelter, they can contact their local law enforcement agency for information.
Put together a kit that includes flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, cash and copies of identifying and important information. Have this supply kit ready to go in the case that a forced evacuation occurs.
If you decide to stay in your home, you should make a plan for how you will handle a power outage. While most people can cope without power for a day, it is unusual to have enough supplies to last through a power outage that lasts for several days.
Many cities have an alert system for their residents. Sign up for all of the alerts that you can. If you aren’t sure what is available, conduct an Internet search for your city or county name and the word “alerts.”
Take time now to prepare your home before stores run out of supplies and the storm hits. Trim or removed any trees on your property that are dead or dying. Secure any gutters that are loose and make sure they are free of clogs and debris. Reinforce your windows, roof and doors. Purchase a portable generator if you have the means to do so.
36 hours before the storm hits, make sure that you have a communication plan with your family. Review your evacuation plan with all the people who live in your home and be sure that your car is in working order and filled with fuel. Turn on the television and watch for any emergency instructions. If you have pets, make a plan for them. You will need to find out if you can take them to the evacuation shelter with you or if you need to make other arrangements for their care.
18 hours before the storm hits, start keeping an eye on your phone’s battery. If you have a portable battery charger or pack, make sure that it has a full charge. You will be able to utilize your battery pack if the power goes out. Check your city or county’s website at least once an hour to get the latest updates. It is advisable to check more frequently if you can.
Six hours before the storm hits, close your storm shutters. Turn your freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep it closed. Put a thermometer in the refrigerator so that you can check the food’s temperature when the power is restored. Turn on your television or radio and listen for emergency alerts.
During or after the storm, if you are able to, check in online with Facebook or Twitter to let others know you are okay.
If you have any questions about what to do in the event of Matthew’s landfall, contact your local authorities or the emergency number that has been provided. Remember that no possession is as important as your life or the lives of your loved ones. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so. Evacuations are not ordered unless law enforcement officials believe they are absolutely necessary.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident in Miami or the surrounding area, call our team of experienced attorneys today. We will help you schedule an appointment for a no-cost evaluation of your case at which time we will advise you of your options. Reach out to us today.