By: Ricardo (Kiko) Morillo, Vice President Federal
The month of May has become the time of the year when we repeatedly hear something along the lines of “hurricane season expected to be more active than average.” Rather than panic or simply ignore the reports, we should always be ready for storm season. Fortunately, we are not alone, and we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Let us go to the experts and use some of the tools provided by The American Red Cross.
First on our “To Do” list should be going through the Red Cross’ Hurricane Safety Checklist. This comprehensive list will help you develop the proper readiness for before, during, and after a storm. It provides a list of supply items you should have in hand during storm season. Growing up in Puerto Rico we were always prepared. I learned this lesson early on from my father who was a Senior Enlisted man in the United States Army. He would begin stockpiling supplies in March for the pending storm season. I called him just prior to 2017’s Hurricane Maria. When I asked him how the family was doing, and if they were prepared, he said he was sitting at home watching the news reports showing all the “unprepared folks” standing in line for miles buying things that he purchased months earlier. That is the type of preparedness we should all strive for. The resources are already available to us. Download the checklist, perform your personal assessment and inventories, and be prepared.
Today’s technology has helped the Red Cross expand the ways it can reach out and help the citizens it serves. There are a few Red Cross Apps that I consider essential for storm season preparedness and highly recommend downloading them to your Smart Phones. All these Apps can be found here. The first among these that I recommend is called Hurricane: American Red Cross. This App allows you to track all alerts issued on the Hurricane and provides a live storm tracker, map all at the convenience of your fingertips. An added feature that I use is entering the location of contacts and family members so that I get the same alerts that would affect them in their geographic area. It gives me peace of mind to be able to proactively check on elderly parents, family, and friends.
A more generic App provided by the American Red Cross is their Emergency Alerts App. This is app also can help you keep tabs on relatives, friends and loved ones by showing you all the Alerts affecting their geographic area. Although this is not specific to hurricanes and storm season, I find it to be very useful when checking on elderly parents and kids no longer living in your home.
The Final two American Red Cross Apps I would recommend are the First Aid: American Red Cross App and the Pet First Aid: American Red Cross. These are self-explanatory. Without day-to-day practice we may have forgotten the basic first aid lessons we may have learned in High School Health Class or Girls and Boys Scouts. Consider these Apps your hand-held cheat sheets for basic first aid. Since our pets are also members of the family, we need to take care of them as well.
In March of this year, Weather.com reported that “The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be more active than usual,” according to an outlook released on April 15 by The Weather Company. Whether you were a Boy Scout and live by their motto of “Be Prepared” or were trained by an old Army Sergeant who always said, “La luz de alante es la que alumbra” (The Light Ahead is the one that illuminates) being prepared is a good thing. Stay Safe!