Be prepared for hurricane season

July 1, 2011

Hurricane season is here, so it's a good time for BCM employees to make sure they have a plan in place – both at work and at home – in case a storm threatens the Houston area.

All employees should enroll in the Emergency Notification System to receive time-sensitive, emergency notifications via voice message, e-mail and text message.

Employees should also be aware of the crisis communications section on the BCM Intranet, which offers links to important information such as school closings.

It's important to be prepared at home as well. Dr. Bobby Kapur, assistant professor of emergency medicine at BCM, offers some preparation tips.

He recommends that high-risk populations evacuate an area that is expected to be hit by a hurricane as soon as possible. This includes people with infants and children, the elderly and anyone with severe medical conditions. Because local sources of care may not be available in the event of a hurricane, it's important to be outside the threat of the storm. These populations should evacuate early to avoid being stuck in traffic.

Disaster supply kit

Kapur also recommends that families have a plan for what to do when there's a hurricane approaching. This includes preparing a disaster supply kit with the following supplies:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for three to five days)
  • Canned and pre-packaged food
  • Paper plates, utensils and a manual can opener
  • Blankets and pillows
  • First-aid kit
  • Medications
  • Flashlight
  • Battery operated radio
  • Toiletries
  • Corded phone
  • Cash
  • Important documents, including insurance and medical information. Keep copies of important documents in a sealed plastic bag, so they are ready to go when necessary.

What if you stay?

Everyone may not choose to evacuate, so those families hunkering down should identify the safest place in the house that is away from windows and potential high water, and determine an escape route. Also be sure to have a plan in place for pets, said Kapur.

Have a pre-designated meeting point in case you must evacuate suddenly, and have a point of contact outside of the city.

Families should also know what to do in case of an emergency during a hurricane. Small scrapes and abrasions can be treated with supplies from the first-aid kit. However, if an injury occurs and bleeding cannot be controlled, get help as soon as possible. A puncture wound may also require immediate attention from a health care professional. Those with chronic diseases may see exacerbations of their symptoms during this time, so any issues with severe dehydration, dizziness or fainting, chest pain or trouble breathing should be treated as soon as possible by a health care professional.

For those staying at home, also remember that hurricanes should be taken seriously, so do not venture outside during a storm.

More information about storms can be found on the Baylor website at: http://www.bcm.edu/news/features/item.cfm?newsID=2308