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Team Moody prepares for hurricane

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Around and round it goes, what it will do? No one knows. It’s big, it’s strong, and it’s fast, leaving nothing but destruction in its path.

As we witness this devastation left from Hurricane Harvey and watch as Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Katia continue brewing, it is important to know how to prepare and to develop a plan.

“While residents should always be prepared during hurricane season, it is especially important now,” said Master Sgt. Terri Adams, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management section chief. “As Hurricane Irma closes in on our region, you need to understand the risks, set a plan and stock up on necessary supplies. When the safety of yourself or your family is at risk, it’s always best to over-prepare rather than not at all.”

Due to the severe wind speeds and possible flooding, a hurricane can be potentially catastrophic when it makes contact with land.

“One of the biggest threats people can see from a hurricane is rushing water from flooding,” said Master Sgt. Michael Wojtylko, 23d Wing occupational safety technician. “It is important for people to stay out flood waters as much as they can. Even six inches of rushing water is enough to take someone down, so it can be a lot more powerful than some people believe.”

As these flood waters start to build up, they can back up sewage lines or drain systems, jeopardizing the sanitation of the water and possibly making people ill.

Because of scenarios like this, Wojtylko says it is important to listen to any instructions the local authorities provide.

“The emergency management folks are the experts and can foresee a future that we might not be able to see,” said Wojtylko. “Authorities may tell you to evacuate or they may recommend things you might not expect such as shutting off the power or water in your house. Whatever it be, it is important keep communications open so that you can pay attention and take the necessary precautions that local authorities recommend.”

While taking in all recommended instructions, it is important to prepare a plan for yourself or your family. Any residents in hurricane watch or warning areas should know where they plan to go in the event that they are evacuated and how they will get there.

“Whether you choose to evacuate or stay home, you need to make sure you are ready,” said Wojtylko. “Families should prepare an emergency kit well in advance just in case stores are closed, out of stock, or you are unable to leave your home.”

According to ready.gov, your emergency kit should include non-perishable food items and water to last three days, including one gallon of water per person per day. Other recommended supplies include: a battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, cash, sanitary wipes, manual can opener, blankets and extra clothes.

Items needed in an emergency kit can also vary based on individual needs. For instance, some might need a supply of necessary medications, baby supplies such as formula, bottles, diapers and wipes, feminine supplies, as well as food and extra water for any pets. Though not necessary, it is a good idea to have books, games, or puzzles for children in case of a power outage.

In addition to preparing an emergency kit, residents should ready their home for possible impact from the hurricane.

“Even as far inland as Valdosta is, we are still at a big risk for getting damaging winds,” said Wojtylko. “Before the storm comes, you should take down any limbs of trees that could possibly fall on your home and secure or put away any loose outdoor items such as furniture, grills or children toys. During the storm, you should keep to the innermost room in your home and avoid being near windows.”

For more information about how to prepare, visit www.ready.gov. In the event of an emergency, always call 911.