Keith Tidball, assistant director for disaster education at Cornell Cooperative Extension and faculty fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University, says that individual preparedness is vital to the safety of millions of Americans who are in the path of Hurricane Irma. Tidball’s experience includes work in post-Katrina New Orleans, in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy, and in Joplin, Missouri, following the devastating tornado of 2011.
“As national disaster-response assets and resources are being stretched by the devastation brought about by Hurricane Harvey, individual preparedness will play an even more critical role for those in the path of Hurricane Irma. Every single citizen must quickly get up to speed and prepare themselves and their families to evacuate, or make sure they are prepared to ride out the storm should that be their only choice.
“Having a travel-sized first aid kit and some bottled water will not be enough. If you fail to heed, or are prevented from heeding evacuation warnings, you had better be prepared to survive in a marine environment. We’re talking about life jackets, signaling equipment, foul weather gear, even life rafts. If you’re not up to that, get out. You the citizen are the only help until help arrives. That could be awhile with a storm of this magnitude.”
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