As Hurricane Irma moves through the Caribbean, residents and travelers in its path are bracing for impact. Referred to by The Weather Channel as the "most intense Atlantic hurricane in 12 years," Irma's 185 mile-per-hour winds threaten the kind of destruction not seen since Hurricane Andrew some 25 years ago.
If you are affected by Irma, it's absolutely vital you take the recommended steps to protect yourself. To aid in preparation, we've gathered some essential hurricane resources and tips. Be sure you know exactly what to do before, during, and after Irma hits.
Our Top 3 Hurricane Survival Resources
- National Hurricane Center — This site provides updates in real time to help you keep track of Irma's location.
- FEMA's Irma HQ — This official website of the Department of Homeland Security provides preparedness and safety tips and resources, relevant social media accounts worth following, and current Hurricane Irma news.
- How to Prepare for a Hurricane — FEMA's pdf manual shares vital tips to follow before, during, and after a hurricane. Don't miss the "Hurricane Preparedness Checklist" on page 11.
Additional Tips and Advice
If you think you may be affected by Hurricane Irma, be sure to follow these tips from our partners at On Call International:
- If you have been ordered to evacuate by local authorities, do so immediately — but be sure to keep loved ones informed of where you are going (and let them know when you've safely arrived).
- If you have not been recommended to evacuate, plan to take shelter where you are.
- Know the best way to stay informed, whether through local contacts, the local news, or an alert system.
- Check to see if your community (or the community you're traveling through) offers text or email-based emergency alerts and notifications.
- Be advised that local services, local public and private transport, communications, and even basic supplies may be difficult to access.
- Ensure that you are stocked up on food, water, and medications.
- Ensure that your cell phone and any other communication devices are fully charged. Whenever possible, restrict calls to emergency use only to help you save battery.
- Plan how you're going to communicate if you lose power. (In a hurricane, a text message may be faster and more reliable than a phone call, as phone lines are easily overloaded.)
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters and inundated areas.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.