Everyone knows it’s hurricane season. If your school has an away game in the Southeast, or you’ve won an all-expenses paid trip to the Caribbean, you may be traveling when a hurricane hits. Here are a few quick tips to read before you visit a college prone to heavy rains and high winds.
Words of warning
1. Have an emergency evacuation plan handy. This doesn’t include the map on the back of the fire exit door in your hotel. This is a real way to get out of town. Realize that airports may be closed or flights might be limited.
2. Know where you are. The lack of an oceanfront view doesn’t make you safe. Even inland areas far from the coastline can experience destructive winds, tornadoes, and floods from tropical storms and hurricanes. Take a few minutes to know where local medical facilities and emergency resources are.
3. No vacany. If you get stuck you may have to stay in an emergency shelter or on the floor of a crowded dorm room. These places have basic resources (no, that doesn’t mean no HBO), that may mean no beds. You should bring an emergency blanket, first aid kit, water, water treatment purification tablets, easily stored non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, and a portable battery-powered radio.
4. Let someone know where you are. And not just your mother. If you’re leaving the country, register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can use the State Department’s travel registration website. This way, authorities have a way of contacting you in an emergency and someone will realize if you go missing. Even if you’re just taking a short trip to visit a friend at college, tell someone, better yet, leave a detailed itinerary with your dorm mate, friends, or family.
5. Stay informed. Listen to local radio, and check the National Hurricane Center website. A hurricane should never hit you by surprise. A cell phone that works internationally is also a must. Your friends and family can tell you what’s going on if you lose other contact.
6. Protect your vitals. Keep your passport and travel documents dry by securing them in a waterproof container.
You can never completely plan for a natural disaster, but you can be better prepared.