By Stephanie Huynh | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits: PBS.org
A little over halfway into hurricane season on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Ian has officially hit Florida with nearly Category 5 strength. Though the Alabama coast is not currently on Ian’s predicted path, it’s a good time to think about your own hurricane preparedness plan whether you’re on campus or commuting.
Monday afternoon, the USA Weather Alert System released a message saying, “As of now, there are no changes to the regular schedule of University of South Alabama operations. USA officials will continue to monitor the weather and will provide additional information as needed.”
If you’ve been at South for at least a semester, you’re probably already assuming that the University will stay open since Ian doesn’t pose an immediate threat to our region. However, the emergency response team also knows that we’re at a school in the rainiest city in the United States—the university is certainly familiar with storms, and there are ample rainy day plans in place for every scenario.
That said, it’s a great time to make sure that your hurricane plan is up-to-date and that your snack stash isn’t expiring any time soon. If you don’t have a plan yet, don’t worry! The Vanguard has your back. Here are some recommendations to get you ready for Hurricane Season at South.
Make a Hurricane Safety Kit
This is something that you’ll keep in your room on campus or at home. Your safety kit can be as large or small as you want. Gather different materials and set them in a lidded box for easy and secure storage.
Here are some highly recommended items for your kit:
- bottled water and non-perishable food items, such as canned goods and granola bars
- a flashlight
- battery-powered fan
- batteries to go in your flashlight and fan (make sure they’re the correct ones)
- a board game and/or deck of cards for entertainment
- fully charged power bank
- first-aid kit
Create an Evacuation Plan
Evacuation is for the worst-case scenario, but it’s important to think about. Ask yourself and your loved ones what you need to do in order to be safe if a hurricane does head our way. Where are you headed? When should you head there? What do you need to bring with you? Do you have enough gasoline in your car?
Since the University probably won’t close for every storm that appears on a radar, it’s important to remember that we’re in a decent location in relation to the rest of our area. South is not in a flood zone, so students who live in the residential halls will still be in good shape if extreme weather occurs.
Be Prepared for Rain Anytime, Honestly
You’d be surprised how many people I’ve met at South who have told me that they don’t own rain boots. There are people on our campus who suffer from wet socks when it rains. Don’t let this be you!
In case you aren’t local or haven’t thought about these things, here are some tips that I’ve gathered:
- If there’s any chance of rain during the day, pack a small towel and an extra set of clothes (or just extra socks) in case you get drenched.
- Carry an umbrella with you. Mobile weather is unpredictable.
- Get to your rainy day obligations a few minutes early so you have time to dry off and you aren’t running around all soggy and out of breath.
- Invest in rain boots and a rain jacket if you haven’t already. You will definitely get good use out of them.
For the complete and official plan from the university, you can refer to the USA Emergency Response and Recovery Plan for 2022. The hurricane response portion begins on page 35.