You began planning your summer trip months ago, your itinerary is set down to the last minute and you couldn’t be more excited. Vacations, after all, are a way to unwind and spend time with family and loved ones. But what if a natural disaster were to occur? Would you know what to do or where to go?
While unfortunate, we all know that tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other weather events can happen at any time. Take last year, for example, when 12 members of two different families went missing for more than 48 hours after flooding swept their vacation home from its foundation in the popular tourist town of Wimberley, Texas. Like a lot of families, these vacationers probably weren’t expecting anything like this to happen. But with a few simple preparedness steps, both groups might have been able to avoid such a disaster.
Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman knows firsthand the importance of preparation. He can vividly remember the Island being evacuated in 2004 when Hurricane Charley swept through.
“We had policeman knocking on hotel doors to alert vacationers that they needed to evacuate the Island,” he recalls.
With technological advancements, that’s no longer needed, he says.
“Text alerts can be sent out to everyone on the Island based on where cell towers are located, which is very helpful.”
Despite advancements in alerting the public of a pending disaster, he still urges all vacationers to pay attention to the local media and to be cognizant of their surroundings, especially during Hurricane Season.
While not intended to scare you, this is a good reminder that preparation can make the difference between life and death when severe weather strikes. Because of this, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency recommends the following preparedness tips prior to – and during – any vacation.
Before you leave:
- Pack a travel size Ready kit that includes flashlights, extra batteries, water, snacks, blankets first aid kit, medications, NOAA weather radio and other important personal items you might need
- Have access to emergency information at your fingertips. If you’re traveling in Georgia, download the Ready Georgia mobile app
- Let family members know what your vacation plans include and how to reach you
- Develop a family plan and know what you will do and where you will go during a disaster
During your trip:
- Familiarize yourself with your surroundings once you’ve reached your destination – in an unfamiliar setting you can be more vulnerable to harm
- Find out how emergency warnings are communicated in the area – outdoor warning alarms, etc.
- Check the weather forecast to stay informed about potential threats to your area
- Utilize your NOAA weather radio to stay up-to-date with any breaking weather-related news