Hurricane season starts today, so I decided to distribute hurricane preparedness checklists around the BPI campus. I began with a visit to the BPI Squirrel. Oops.

I delivered his checklist in the wee hours, because it’s already hot in South Blogistan and I wanted to cover the entire campus before the sun baked my brain any more than it already has over the years. He wasn’t up, and he’s usually grumpy anyway, so I thought I’d nail the list to his tree and leave. The hammering woke him, and he came out in his pajamas. Or maybe he needed to groom his fur. It was hard to tell in the dark. We exchanged insults and macadamia nuts. I think he got the better part of that exchange.

Then I explained that today marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and there were some things he should know in case one of those swirly balls of wind, water and insanity headed his way.

1. Most important is to make sure his family have enough food, water and batteries to last for at least two weeks should a hurricane pass through. It’s good to stock up early as the insanity of the storm will be nothing compared to the insanity before and after the storm in the super markets. The hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath will not be safe after a hurricane, so he and his family will need water for washing as well as for drinking. I also explained that he should have food that doesn’t need to be cooked, and to store it in a place that won’t flood. He looked around at his buried stashes. I said yes, he’d need to move those up into his tree or into one of the BPI campus buildings.

2. I also told him to find out whether his tree in an evacuation zone, and if so, which zone. He should go online and check the city and county government to find out where nearby evacuation shelters are. And he should look for an evacuation shelter that accepts pets, in case they don’t accept his credentials as BPI’s roving reporter.

3. He also needs to prepare his home. I told him to ask the Professor of Astrology Janitor to clean up any dead branches from around campus, because they become damaging and deadly debris in hurricane force winds. He should also find a place to store his garden gnome and any other lawn ornaments and furniture. While his tree has no windows, most buildings do. They should be covered with hurricane film, storm shutters, or plywood. Don’t bother taping them as that just makes the chunks of glass larger and more dangerous if they break in the storm.

4. He should also have a weather radio. Chances are that the power will go out for at least some time during and after the storm. Weather radios are cheap, run on batteries, and can keep you updated on the location and duration left of the storm itself and when it’s safe to leave your home.

5. While most disaster plans tell you to have flashlights and candles, don’t forget to stock up on extra batteries. Hurricanes can pass over an area in a few hours, or sit over an area for a few days. Board games and books are great ways to pass the time with the howling winds and rain outside and make them seem as bad or scary. Music also helps keep children calm, and you may not be able to recharge iPods or other such devices. A portable CD player, with extra batteries, is more reliable.

Finally, I told him to make sure the baby does not try surfing in the hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath with his new guirrel friend during the hurricane. Don’t go to the beach to ride the waves either. It’s unsafe and stupid and likely to get them both seriously injured or killed.

If you have any more questions or concerns regarding hurricanes or disaster safety, these government links will be helpful to you. Hurricane Planning and Safety Tips (Re-directed from the FEMA website)

And the NOAA National Weather Service website, feel free to poke around all over

This years name list from wikipedia, lets raise a toast to this years hurricane names, in hopes that none are retired this year, compared to Katrina and Dennis from the last time this list was used in 2005.

  • Arlene (unused)
  • Bret (unused)
  • Cindy (unused)
  • Don (unused)
  • Emily (unused)
  • Franklin (unused)
  • Gert (unused)
  • Harvey (unused)
  • Irene (unused)
  • Jose (unused)
  • Katia (unused)
  • Lee (unused)
  • Maria (unused)
  • Nate (unused)
  • Ophelia (unused)
  • Philippe (unused)
  • Rina (unused)
  • Sean (unused)
  • Tammy (unused)
  • Vince (unused)
  • Whitney (unused)