by Susan Kite, PG
Senior Geologist

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, extends from the first of June to the end of November; however, tropical cyclone activity can occur before and after these months.  According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is September 10, with most activity occurring between mid-August and mid-October.

While an average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, as of mid-August, the 2022 season has been below normal, producing only three tropical storms, none of which reached the 75 mph threshold for hurricane status.  However, there are still over three months until hurricane season is officially over.  Typically, at 2.5 months into the season, the basin has produced four named storms and at least one hurricane. 

So, what does it mean to be prepared for a tropical storm, hurricane, or other natural disaster?  As we are witnessing right now with major flooding in several states across the country, a weather event or other natural disaster can happen quickly and without warning, causing widespread damage and loss of life.  It is important to know what disasters and hazards could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts, and where to go if you and your family, or your business needs to evacuate.  Make sure your family and business have a plan and review it often.

First, put together a PLAN.  Learn how to prepare for common hazards quickly and easily with basic preparedness strategies including how to create an emergency communication plan, what to pack in your emergency kit, and what to do immediately after a disaster. Some recommended items to assemble in a basic disaster supply kit include:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food including pet food)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends storing the items in airtight plastic bags and putting the entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.  It’s a good idea to keep your cell phone charged and a full tank of gas in your vehicle to avoid long gas lines and gas shortages.  If you have an electric car, make sure it is charged as well.

Second, knowing when and how to PROTECT yourself, your loved ones, including your pets, and your property or business during a disaster can make all the difference.  Know where the emergency shelters are located in your area if you need to evacuate to a safe space.

Third, in the event a disaster occurs in your area, you need resources to RECOVER after a disaster.  Find out if your location is eligible for FEMA assistance, find Disaster Recovery Center locations, and get answers to your most pressing questions when you need it most.  Download the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) App to get preparedness strategies, real-time weather and emergency alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. 

How Can We Help?
The EI Group, Inc. (EI) employs a knowledgeable staff of Safety and Environmental Professionals, and Industrial Hygienists that have experience with safety inspections (pre- and post-event) and assessments in the event of a major weather event or other natural disaster.  EI has been involved with assessments following hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters in the US, as well as internationally, and would be happy to assist with questions regarding pre-planning safety preparedness and follow-up assessments in the event of a disaster.  

If your facility needs assistance, please contact Susan Kite, PG, Senior Geologist, at (678) 640-5268 or [email protected].