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Prairie View prepares for hurricane season

By D'Ann Dickson and Dontrelle Caldwell
On September 12, 2011


The Cooperative Extension Program hosted an emergency preparations summit, Sept. 1 to inform students about safety and evacuation preparedness plans.

The summit discussed what to do if a natural disaster happened suddenly.

"For hurricane Irene, no one was re- ally prepared. No one thought it was actually going to be as bad as it actually was. My family was kind of cautious but for the most part Irene caught us all by surprise," said Olaundria Edwards, a junior health and human performance major.

Not only did Irene wreak havoc on the upper East Coast of the United States, but there was also damage to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and other eastern and Atlantic States.

Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, fires and floods cause evacuations, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. This behavior is directly exhibited by the recent wildfire disasters in Texas. Emergency evacuation plans are produced to ensure the most efficient evacuation from a structure, city, or region, be it highways, streets, or back roads.

Edwards, whose family is from Washington D.C., had minor damage to her home and vehicles. Her mother was delayed on her return home for three weeks while the storm was passing over.

Edwards said, "Since we were in Texas, it was nerve racking waiting to hear about what was going on and how everything was going to turn out but we just prayed over the situation and kept high hopes."

LaRachelle Smith, community and economic development program specialist, said: "A common flaw in emergency preparing is getting informed; many citizens don't know how they are going to get informed whether it comes from the radio or television. Everybody that's involved with the evacuation plan or living in a household needs to know the strategy, so everyone is on the same page. In addition being informed about alternative routes could help a family escape faster, depending on the situation.

Irene totaled in about $1.5 billion in damages, according to White House officials, and at least 40 fatalaties

While those Americans are recovering from such a rigorous chain of events due to Irene, the southern regions of the US are enduring tropical storm Lee which will not become as bad as Irene but will bring heavy rains across states from Alabama to Texas, especially Louisiana and Mississippi.

Many citizens would attempt to get away without thinking, but that's not always the smartest decision. Heading toward the direction where everyone is evacuating will result in heavy traffic.

When community evacuations become mandatory in a city, local officials supply information to the public using media outlets, such as radio, television, sirens or telephone calls are used. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.

First aid kits are also essential to surviving a natural disaster; they should include medicines, flashlights, cash, and a radio, since the bad weather will disconnect most telecommunications.

The summit also discussed the details that many citizens are not aware of, such as personal hygiene materials and special items for children and senior citizens. If a bag was already prepared before the disaster all these items will be ready to be loaded into the car.

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