Even when we know a hurricane is on the way, we can’t always predict its aftermath. But there are many valuable lessons to be learned following Hurricane Ian in Florida—here are just a few to keep in mind for future natural disasters:
Disaster communication, relief, and clean-up should be a community effort. Prioritize your family’s wellness first. But if you can, actively find ways to support your neighbors, first responders, and friends who may require extra help. Even something as simple as cooking a hot meal for local clean-up teams can make a big difference.
As anyone who’s lived through a hurricane will tell you, it’s not uncommon for your sunbathing chair, above-ground pool, and patio set to end up down the street or in your neighbor’s yard. Remember to anchor or weigh down loose items outside your home, no matter how heavy they are. You’d be surprised how powerful a hurricane can be!
After a storm subsides, you might think you’re clear to begin the clean-up process! But remember that many hidden dangers can lurk in debris or flooded areas. In fact, for Floridians, it’s not uncommon to find an alligator or shark swimming down the neighborhood street! The moral of the story? Don’t venture into new areas beyond your shelter location until it is confirmed safe. It’s probably best to engage a professional remediation or restoration crew to tackle any clean-up that could prove hazardous.
After a hurricane, debris can become home to ants, rats, and roaches. As the water recedes, these pests start to grow and thrive. It’s essential to have a plan in place to address the vermin. And while you wait for professional help, do what you can to keep your living area safe. Keep traps and pest sprays on hand to keep the issue at bay.
Amid the online memes or “Florida man” jokes, it’s easy to forget that hurricanes can be terrifying. They take no mercy and destroy property, homes, and lives. And even if you are not personally affected, you’re surrounded by others who may be victims of the devastation (and for an empathetic person, that can be a lot to process). Don’t be afraid to admit that you’ve been emotionally affected by what occurred. Consider tapping into online therapy if your emotions are too much to handle by yourself. It’s okay to be shaken up, and it’s okay to ask for help!
Emergency preparedness should be ongoing for those living in a hurricane-heavy area. Keep your plan up to date and revise it based on new resources or information. For example, your plan should include supplies, details, and information that helps you before and after a hurricane.
Many of us are familiar with the pre-preparation efforts: boarding up windows, stocking the food supply, bringing out the first-aid kit, etc. Now, after a storm, you may need completely different resources. Do you have a record of where to apply for government assistance after the storm or how to find housing in your area if your home is unsafe? It’s better to have a list of these things planned to ensure you’re ready for anything.
Remember, hurricane recovery is a community effort—whether you’re laughing about alligators in the street or mourning a tragic loss, it’s important that you do it with others. A strong support system and ongoing preparedness will help you safely get through any storm. If you or someone you love still needs recovery help, use websites like this to find the needed resources.