DR. PETE WEISS: The Calm Despite the Storm, 10 Steps to Living With Hurricanes
By Pete Weiss, MD // September 9, 2017
beware of exaggerated sensationalized media reports, follow updates on NHC, Space Coast Daily
CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA — The weather forecast? Pleasant today, all hell breaks loose tomorrow. Enjoy the Sunshine State!
If you live in Florida as we do, you’re going to face hurricanes.
We’ve had a good decade or so, but now they’rrre back!
Hurricane season runs from June through November, but collectively we Floridians hold our breath in September and October, the heart of hurricane season, when the worst can be expected.
This September we are off to an early start with Irma, expected to hit early Sunday morning.
- Get educated and keep things in perspective – Hurricanes are terribly destructive and dangerous, but the actual chances of serious injury or death are very small if you are in a structure built to current code and not in an area subject to storm surge or flooding. Take appropriate precautions and you are unlikely to be injured.
- Avoid the news media – The media is not your friend. They live for eyeballs and eyeballs come from exaggerating the threat, exciting emotions and exploiting fears. We check the National Hurricane Center for updates, which are issued every three hours, and some local news sources for information on closures and resources but stay away from much else.
- If necessary, evacuate to an appropriate shelter – meaning one built to current code and not in an area subject to storm surge or flooding. That might mean just 20 miles inland as opposed to, say, North Carolina.
- Be prepared all the time so you don’t have to struggle to obtain needed items in short supply.While everyone’s situation is different, here are a few key things that we do:
– keep the pantry well stocked.
– own several 5-gallon collapsible water jugs (designed for camping) thus eliminating the need for bottled water. Fill before storm. After the storm, empty, collapse and return to storage.
– use my Prius as an emergency A/C power source with a prewired inverter. It’s limited of course, but we can power the refrigerator, lights, and the cable modem and charge our devices. For those of you with hybrid vehicles this is very easy to do. See here.
– store 20 gallons of gasoline in the garage at all times (in appropriate containers, with fuel stabilizer, and changed out every 6-9 months)
- Cook and clean – Get some meals prepared in advance, do all the laundry, and neaten up the house. It keeps you busy; you’re ready in case you lose power; and you feel better in a clean and neat home. Make some treats while you’re at it. While prepping the yard, we got the limes off the tree yesterday, and Sharon’s going to make key lime pie for us today.
- Accept the possibility of loss/hardship – You are likely to lose something in the hurricane. Perhaps it’s just your landscaping, but it might be your roof. Your power might be out for weeks. Hopefully the damage will be minor, and if so, feel blessed! Personally, I’m pre-mourning for my palms (many newly planted) and trees. If they do okay, how good I will feel!
- Don’t go outside during the storm – Yes, you want to know what the wind feels like, but it’s just a bad idea. I’m sure it feels exhilarating right up until you are hit by flying debris.
- Connect with family and friends – most everyone could use some physical and emotional support. Shelter together as a family. Stay in touch with your friends and help one another as needed before and after the storm.
- Be careful after the storm – Chill. You don’t need to be the first to take a driving tour of the destruction. Cleanup should be performed thoughtfully and in an orderly manner. Think safety! Stay away from downed power lines. Be careful around felled trees and those wielding chainsaws.
- Pray and trust God.
Good luck to all my Florida friends. Stay safe and we’ll see you on the other side of Irma.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Peter Weiss is a physician, healthcare executive, author, speaker and health coach with a passion for helping others to health and wellness. His book on personal health, More Health, Less Care, has drawn excellent reviews, and his newest book, The Love Fight, was released in November 2014. Formerly CEO of Health First Health Plans and Senior Vice President at Florida Hospital in Orlando, you can find him on the web at Healthdiscipleship.com.