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Harper College

Tips from emergency preparedness expert

Although Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are wreaking the most havoc more than 1,000 miles away, there are some important lessons area residents can take away frProfessor Sam Giordanoom these – and other – natural disasters.

Professor Sam Giordano, coordinator of Harper College’s Emergency and Disaster Management program, offers these tips:

What you can do to be prepared:

  1. Stay informed: This can be done by monitoring a weather alert radio, local radio and TV broadcasts, the National Weather Service website or various applications on computers and smart phones. DON'T just rely on one method – especially storm sirens, which are not designed to be heard indoors by everyone.
  2. Have an emergency plan: Do this for your home, business, schools and when you are traveling. Designate places to go to seek safe shelter from a tornado or severe thunderstorm. Pick two places to meet in case you are separated from your family or coworkers. While traveling or when away from home, know the names of the locations you are visiting, especially county and city names.
  3. Prepare yourself and your home: Learn how to use a fire extinguisher, how to administer CPR and how to turn off the electricity, gas and water supplies in your home. Inspect your home for potential hazards such as weakened trees or limbs, cracked windows or worn roofing. When you build a new structure or renovate an existing one, there are ways to prevent wind damage to roofs, upper floors and garages. Rafters, trusses, walls and doors can all be reinforced.
  4. Have an emergency supply kit: Some storms produce power outages that will last for several days. Having the following items will help you cope with the disaster:
Bottled water
Nonperishable food
Flashlights and extra batteries
Extra clothing and blankets
An extra set of keys and cash
Medications and a first-aid kit
Personal hygiene items
Pet supplies
A weather alert radio or portable AM/FM radio

“There is nothing we can do to stop severe thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, or any other type of natural disaster from developing,” Giordano said. “But there are things that everyone can do to minimize the impact of severe weather on our lives.”

For more information about Harper’s Emergency and Disaster Management program, visit harpercollege.edu.


Last Updated: 3/14/24