How to Prepare for a Hurricane

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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How do I deal with wild and domestic animals in a disaster?

Be cautious of wild or stray animals. They may be disoriented and dangerous following a hurricane or flood. Try to confine the animal without putting yourself at risk of being bitten. Call the Animal Control agency in your county if you find or come across a wild or domestic animal. Rising water in hurricanes displace snakes which may seek the same higher drier ground that people, pets and other animals may occupy. Be aware of this hazard and avoid any reptiles.

Wild and domestic animals may escape or be killed in disasters. Escaped animals may wander onto land where they may:

  • contaminate water supplies
  • cause a build-up of manure
  • overgraze sensitive ecosystems
  • cause damage to crops

Decaying carcasses create biologic waste, may contaminate groundwater, cause foul odors, and attract flies and rodents, which can spread disease. Animal carcasses should be disposed of as soon as possible to avoid creating a health hazard to animals or humans. Contact your local animal control department or local health department for specific disposal guidance.

REFERENCES:

Blake, E.S., et al. "THE DEADLIEST, COSTLIEST, AND MOST INTENSE UNITED STATES TROPICAL CYCLONES FROM 1851 TO 2010 (AND OTHER FREQUENTLY REQUESTED HURRICANE FACTS)." National Hurricane Center; NOAA. Updated: August 2011.
<http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms."
<https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/>

National Weather Service. "Severe Weather and Safety; Family Preparedness."
<http://www.weather.gov/media/dmx/Preparedness/FamilyPrepare.pdf>

"Hurricane Sandy (Atlantic Ocean)." NASA. Updated: Oct 28, 2013.
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2012/h2012_Sandy.html>

"Hurricane Season 2005: Katrina." NASA. Updated: Oct 13, 2005.
<http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/h2005_katrina.html>

National Weather Service. "Hurricane Preparedness Week."
<http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/hurricane_preparedness.html#prepweek>

ready.gov." Make a Plan: Emergency Communication Plan."
<https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan>

ready.gov. "Hurricanes."
<https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes>

Washtenaw County Department of Planning and Environment. "Environmental Health Fact Sheet; Safe Drinking Water During a Disaster." Updated: March 2012.
<http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/environmental_health/emergency_preparedness/eh_epsafewater.pdf>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/13/2016

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