Hurricane season is upon us: Get a kit, have a plan, stay informed

MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., was formally dedicated as an air base April 16, 1941. The base is named in honor of Col. Leslie MacDill, a respected aviation pioneer in the Army Air Corps who died in a BC-1 plane crash shortly after taking off from Bolling Field, D.C. in 1938.

MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., was formally dedicated as an air base April 16, 1941. The base is named in honor of Col. Leslie MacDill, a respected aviation pioneer in the Army Air Corps who died in a BC-1 plane crash shortly after taking off from Bolling Field, D.C. in 1938. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The state of Florida is no stranger to the effects of Mother Nature, having weathered over 80 storms since the turn of the century.

As the winds of hurricane season begin to blow, lasting until November 30, it is important to ensure Team MacDill is safe in the case of an emergency.

Before the storm

“You cannot be too prepared,” said Leighton Reid, an emergency management technician assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron. “You have to have a plan a, plan b, plan c, and be prepared to come up with a plan d on the spot.”

These plans should not only include a personal checklist of things to do before a storm, but most importantly, an emergency supply kit with the recommended 7 to 14 days’ worth of supplies necessary to survive.

“The most effective thing you can do to mitigate the effects of a storm is to be prepared and have a kit,” Reid said. “Don’t wait until a storm is on its way to make a plan.”

During the storm

Once a storm is approaching, it becomes time to make a decision between evacuating and riding out the storm at home.

“The main thing is running away from the water,” Reid said. “If you get far enough inland and away from the storm surge, your biggest concern becomes the wind.”

While making any decision during this stressful situation, it is highly advised to stay informed by paying attention to local and state emergency messages, to include severe weather alerts.

“During a storm, protecting yourself is the most important guidance,” Reid said. “Hunker down, stay away from windows and doors, and have a way to receive information.”

After the storm

Whether at home or on the road, it is necessary to understand what to do after the storm passes.

“If you evacuated, don’t go back until authorities give the all clear that it is safe,” Reid said. “More people are injured after a storm than during it, trying to assess the damage to their property.”

Although it can be a time of despair and destruction, it is important to note that homes and material belongings can be replaced… lives cannot. As the often-quoted adage goes: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” The time to prepare is now.

When asked to summarize hurricane season preparedness, Mr. Reid said: “Get a kit, have a plan, stay informed.”

For more information on hurricane safety and preparation, visit www.macdill.af.mil/Hurricane-Information or contact the emergency management office at 813-828-4321.