The devastation left by Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago and the impending danger of Hurricane Irma has made it more and more necessary to stay-up-to-date with emergency services and warnings. Rising sea temperatures only amplify the frequency of these disasters. Looking at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) website for guidance in the event of a hurricane can be, in a word, overwhelming with its complicated charts and meteorology terms. However, staying up-to-date is not only possible, but necessary in the event of a natural disaster, as disregarding or not knowing information could result in disaster.

If you are in the wake of a hurricane, you might want to get your hands on a disaster radio, as soon as possible. Weather radio stations, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio, broadcasts weather forecasts, warnings, watches, and other hazard information at all times. Equipping yourself with a weather radio will ensure that in the event of a disaster, you are not totally without contact and assistance. Weather radio updates are a basic need but you should also consider radios that are waterproof, use different forms of energy (solar, batteries, etc.), rugged for drops and falls, and/or with communication capabilities.  These are available at stores like Target and Walmart, and if you are not pressed for time there are plenty to be found online.

At the same time, it is important to be aware before you are in immediate danger of a hurricane. If you have an iPhone, you can go to Settings, then Notification Center, then tap on the toggle switch next to emergency alerts. The same is also available on Android phones. Go to Settings, More, and under the Wireless & Networks heading tap Cell Broadcasts. Also, consider apps like the Weather Channel app and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radar app. With notifications enabled, these apps can send important details about storms forming and vital evacuation information.

Another notable resource lies in social media. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, victims were posting about themselves and their families being trapped in and on top of buildings on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. People with boats were finding addresses to rescue people and those with other resources formed ways to rescue. Twitter was filled with posts of addresses and retweets that made it easier to find people to rescue.

The key is to stay informed at all times and to always have a plan in place to evacuate in the event of a disaster. These habits will surely keep you safe.

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