Now is the time to prepare for the next emergency

Posted 4/15/21

Seven months after Hurricane Sally came ashore in Baldwin County, fallen trees still lie in fields and blue tarps still cover many roofs.

After more than a year, we are still dealing with the …

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Now is the time to prepare for the next emergency

Posted
Seven months after Hurricane Sally came ashore in Baldwin County, fallen trees still lie in fields and blue tarps still cover many roofs. After more than a year, we are still dealing with the effects of COVID-19. Many of us don’t want to think about facing another disaster. Hurricane season, however, will start in a few weeks. The upcoming season is predicted to be “average.” That prediction, however, is a new average. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updates the average every 10 years. In the past, an average season was 12 named storms of which six are hurricanes and three of those are major hurricanes. With more storms in recent years, the average is now 14 storms and seven hurricanes. The new normal is more hurricanes in an average season. On April 7, Baldwin County emergency management officials met in Robertsdale to discuss lessons learned from the events of the recent past and how those experiences might be applied in the future. They talked about how communication can be improved, both between agencies and with the public, and the need to become more self-sufficient. Agencies should study past events and try to determine how to better do things when the next problem occurs. But officials are not the only ones who need to realize that we could face more challenges in the upcoming months. Everyone should prepare for another season of storms and other potential threats. We might not want to imagine dealing with more downed trees, damaged homes and days without power, but that is always a possibility on the Gulf Coast. As we also saw in 2020, disasters other than storms are also a potential threat. We cannot assume that this won’t happen again. It could happen. One day, whether this year, next year or at some time in the future, it will happen again – here. The ideas discussed by local officials – planning, communication, self-sufficiency – are all good starting points. We should know what we will do if a disaster threatens, whether that means evacuating or preparing to ride it out. We should know how to get information and let others know what is happening to us. And we should be ready to have supplies, whether food or water or prescription medications, to last several days. We should also think about what we can do if another event threatens our businesses and jobs and how that might impact our community and schools. COVID numbers are down. The Gulf is calm today. Things are better than they were at times in 2020. We have no guarantee that it will stay that way. If, and when, things do change. We need to be ready.