Hurricane season gusts toward Shaw Published May 21, 2018 By Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and brings with it the increased threat of severe weather. The possibility of harsh wind, heavy rain and flooding not only endangers personal property, but also life. For example, according to the National Hurricane Center, at least 1,500 people died during Hurricane Katrina. Many of these deaths were caused by storm surges, which are the abnormal rises of water caused by a storm. Storm surges also bring with them wind and flooding which move debris, causing more damage, said Airman 1st Class Emil Jacobsen, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management apprentice. To protect themselves, their families and property, individuals can take simple precautions before the season begins. Airman 1st Class Kailee Johnson, 20th CES emergency management apprentice, said individuals should have necessities before the storms arrive because stores may be sold out when a hurricane is on its way. These items include food, water, medications and a radio. “I’ve been through a couple hurricanes,” said Johnson. “One thing I can say we had a shortage of was water. … We didn’t expect for our water to go away, but we were without water for a couple weeks.” Jacobsen added that pet owners should pack supplies such as pet food, toys and blankets. The Department of Homeland Security recommends the following items as well: - Flashlight - Batteries - Cash - First aid supplies - Copies of critical information in case of evacuation - Generator Knowing hurricane condition timelines can help individuals in their planning process. HURCON levels, which are displayed across military installations and websites, inform readers by indicating when severe weather can be expected so they can prepare their homes and gather any last minute supplies. “If you know the HURCON levels, you know what to expect, you know how long you have to prepare for something,” said Johnson. “Knowledge is key. If you know what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to do it and why you’re doing it, you’ll be safe throughout the hurricane.” Once a storm arrives, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides the following survival tips: - Evacuate immediately if told to do so - Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor and away from windows - Listen for emergency information and instructions - Do not travel through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock down an adult while 12 inches can move a vehicle. By gathering supplies and staying aware of inclement weather, individuals can keep themselves and their families safe. For more information about hurricane preparation, visit www.ready.gov.