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Fort Rucker officials stress importance of preparedness

Courtesy Graphic

Courtesy Graphic

Published: June 5, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 5, 2014) -- Although this year’s hurricane season is expected to be mild, it only takes one big storm to wreak havoc on coastal states, and Fort Rucker officials remind people that preparation is key.

Having a kit ready and being prepared for a storm has the potential to save lives and give people what they need to not only make it through a storm, but be able to survive the aftermath, said Willie Worsham, Fort Rucker emergency response manager.

“Throughout hurricane season, people need to understand the dangers that are associated with hurricanes, even though we don’t live right along the coast,” he said. “We are still close enough to the coast that we do feel the effects of hurricanes.”

Worsham said that people should familiarize themselves with what hurricanes can bring, such as high winds, torrential rainfall, flooding and even tornadoes that can come along with the storm systems. Education is important so that people understand what they need to prepare for, he added.

“Make sure you have plenty of water to drink, because in the event of flooding, water systems could become contaminated,” said the emergency response manager. “People need to have at least one gallon of water per person, per day. And normally they should have at least three days of water on hand, but with a hurricane, people should prepare for at least a week.”

Along with water, people should make sure to have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, any necessary medications, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, ID cards and anything they feel might help them if they are without power.

People should also take into account the needs of their pets, he added.

In the event of extended power outages, which can be fairly common with severe storms, people should also invest in a back-up generator to power their most essential appliances, such as a refrigerator.

Although we are relatively close to the coast, when a hurricane makes landfall, it loses power fairly quickly, so areas surrounding the Fort Rucker community won’t experience the kind of devastation that coastal cities might see, but people should prepare for the worst nonetheless, said Worsham.

Hurricanes can also spawn strong storms with high winds, large downpours, lightning, possible tornadoes and even flooding in low-lying areas, he said.

Tornados are one of the main things people need to be prepared for since they are so unpredictable and can strike without warning, said Worsham.

“The dynamics in the atmosphere during these periods are very conducive for the formation of tornados,” he said. “If people hear tornado sirens, they should immediately move to an interior area of their house, such as a hallway or closet, and try and shield themselves with mattresses or anything they can.”

If people live in low-lying areas prone to flooding, they should try to evacuate to an area out of the flood zone to avoid danger, he added.

Another thing people should be prepared for is after the storm. Afterward, they should do a damage assessment to make sure their area is still safe. Some things people need to look out for are downed trees and power lines, and they should make sure to stay clear of any power lines they see on the ground.

In the event of a storm, Fort Rucker residents can stay informed with CodeRED alerts direct to their smart phones, which they can sign up for at www.rucker.army.mil/codered/.

For more information on emergency weather preparation, click here.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/127455/

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