One hurricane already has landed on U.S. soil. Another is about to do so. And a third could be on the way if Hurricane Juan builds momentum. Hurricane preparedness is the utmost importance now.
It’s a small measure of relief that technology allows near-precise timeliness of when and where these devastating acts of nature will make impact. Technology can also help you best prepare for disaster.
In the case of Hurricane Irma, residents in Florida, the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard had more than a week’s warning for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.
While that doesn’t soften the potential impact for apartment residents and operators, it gives them more sufficient time to prepare. As many go to local shops and stores to get supplies the result is often bar shelves. However, a few-day window exists to utilize online shopping. Apartment communities could see a gigantic rush of supplies ranging from non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and other survival-type goods.
This is also the time for property managers to have a firm emergency plan intact. It is vital to have procedures in place to notify residents and team members. This isn’t the time to ignore evacuation orders or the advice of first responders.
But no matter how direct, widespread or valuable the advice, some will choose to wait out the storm. In fairness, south Florida apartment developments are better prepared for a hurricane after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Construction standards have increased, windows are designed to withstand high impact and most new developments can absorb winds of up to 175 mph. But that doesn’t mean newer apartment communities can be perceived as an impenetrable fortress when hurricanes approach.
For those who plan to stay – or end up caught in an apartment community during a hurricane – here are a few survival tips:
Remain in the stairwell of your building
This is generally the safest place you can be, as it is the sturdiest part of any high-rise. The cooling tower atop the building also is built to withstand exceedingly heavy winds, particularly in newer buildings. The drawback with both these options is that you’ll be difficult to reach in the aftermath of the emergency.
Keep windows closed and balconies clear
These precautions might seem apparent enough. But the slightest gap in an open window can allow the storm to enter and could create a suction effect. Some might be tempted to open windows because the loss of power means the loss of air conditioning, which can create brutal inside temperatures.
Stay clear of low lying areas and windows
Although many believe the threat of danger elevates the higher you go, the most devastating impact typically occurs at ground level. That’s largely because ground-level items often stay close to the ground when they are uprooted and tossed through the air. And even though many new apartment communities feature glass that can withstand significant impact, stay as far away as possible despite the inclination to watch what’s happening outside.
If you safely wait out the storm and live on a higher floor, be mindful of the elevator situation. Shifting in a building typically equates to elevator problems, and they could be inoperable for the foreseeable future. So if you live on the 25th floor, be ready for an abundance of stair climbing each time you come and go.
Here’s hoping that hurricane season passes quickly and with as little damage as possible. For those in the path, stay vigilant, stay prepared and stay safe.