Tips in case of hurricane

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Palm trees wave strongly due to wind and rain in San Juan (Puerto Rico). Puerto Rico today took all measures to avoid a catastrophe in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which on the verge of impacting the Caribbean Lesser Antilles reached the maximum level of category 5, for which a declaration of a state of emergency was requested.

The arrival of the powerful hurricane Irma to the United States has multiplied the official advice but also the always ingenious popular wisdom, which recommends from filling the bath to storing valuables in the dishwasher.

Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, is expected to reach the southeastern part of the country on Sunday morning, so that the population hurries the last hours to prepare as much as possible.

In recent days have seen impressive rows on the highways, gas stations and supermarkets in Florida, the most threatened state by Irma.

Developing a fast evacuation plan with the family, collecting food and water for at least three days, and filling the car depot are some of the basic recommendations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

All this must be done 36 hours before the hurricane, as well as prepare an emergency package with medicines, flashlights, batteries, cash and a change of clothes.

It is also advisable to agree with loved ones communication alternatives in case there are outages: it is best to use email or social networks for the duration of the battery of the cell phone and computer.

When that is not possible, it is preferable to send text messages to call, because the lines usually collapse during natural disasters.

Between 36 and 18 hours before the hurricane, a key task is to cover all the windows of the house, ideally with fixed shutters and, if not, with plywood planks.

After that, the patio furniture, garbage containers and any object that can become a projectile should be collected when the strong winds arrive.
Between the 18 and the 6 hours previous something fundamental is to load the cellular to the maximum to have battery in case of the light goes away.

And when there are only 6 hours left, the main thing is to stay home – if you have not ordered the evacuation of the area – and tell family and friends where you are.

Also, stay as far away from the windows as possible, be aware of the warnings of the authorities on the radio and television and put the refrigerator and freezer at the coldest temperature so that the food is kept as long as possible if there is a power outage later.

Along with these official councils, the tricks of veteran citizens in dealing with hurricanes and also of journalists who have survived many in the front line have multiplied in the last hours in the media and social networks.

One of the most curious was heard today on public radio NPR: in case of evacuation, leave valuables in the dishwasher, will be free of water.

At CBS they qualified the council saying that you first have to cut the water in the machine and put the objects in plastic bags for protection.

The clothes washer, dryer and plastic boxes can also fulfill this function, although it is advisable to always carry key documents such as passport, other identifications, medical reports or insurance papers.

The advice of the dishwasher is more for things with sentimental or economic value but not essential like photographs or jewelry.

Another curious home recommendation is to fill the water tub before the hurricane: it can be used for the toilet or to wash the dishes.

And for those who will have to report the arrival of the hurricane in the front line, journalists tanned in natural catastrophes have shared the wisdom accumulated in other coverages.

For example, they advise arriving soon to the place of the coverage to familiarize themselves with the surroundings and to gather testimonies before the situation is complicated.

In addition, they recommend to the most daring who do not drive or be outside during the storm: it is too risky and, for the work of many reporters, often does not really bring anything.

And all agree on a piece of advice that applies to anyone in the path of the threatening Irma: “do not tempt luck, life comes first”.

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