Hurricane season is upon us again. The National Weather Service is predicting an extremely active year for storms. They are building in the tropics as you read this. When the first hurricane forms in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s too late to being planning.
Plywood, batteries, bottled water and other necessities will already be gone. The time for planing is now. Once a storm hits, there will be no ambulances to come and help you, no fire trucks to help, no police cars able to operate. Just high wind, polluted water and flooded homes.
Your local officials have already begun planning their part. One of the critical aspects of hurricane planning is evacuation. If you or someone you know has special needs, you must plan ahead. The state has a system to get all patients with disabilities on a list so that local providers can more easily check on them to ensure that they get to safety during an evacuation.
It is called the 2-1-1 system. You just call the 2-1-1 number and give them your information so you won’t get overlooked in a crises.
But again, you have to plan. If you have special needs, get on this list and have your water, your medications, your clothes, extra cash, your necessities, ready to go. It is important for them to know what your special needs are, so you will go to a facility that can properly care for you.
There is another category of evacuees with a different set of needs. These are colloquially referred to as “AGAR” or Ain’t Got A Ride evacuees.
Public officials won’t leave you behind either, but you need to prepare. Secure your home or apartment. Make arrangements for your pets.
Bring your necessities, but don’t bring a lot of stuff. More details will be provided in the future about what you should bring, but be advised most shelters will not tolerate alcohol, guns, or drugs.
Some will take pets if they’re placed in a safe carrier, but others will not. Even the pets accepted will probably be sent to an animal shelter, and you will have to retrieve them later.
Speaking of shelters. do not plan to seek shelter in Refugio County. By law, Refugio County is an evacuation county. No matter what you have heard, do not plan to shelter here.
Finally, if you are leaving “on your own:”
1. Plan to leave early. If you wait until the last minute, you could get stuck in a traffic jam on the highway.
2. Take water, food, meds, etc. with you.
3. Listen to the news or TV.
4. Be sure you are gassed up early.
Once more, do not wait until the last minute to plan your evacuation.