How to Deal with a Hurricane: Tourist Edition

Some people think that living in Florida is such a great thing because of the beaches, the sun and the warmth all year round. What some people fail to see is the hurricane threats we go through every year during the summer. Before Hurricane Hermine, the last Hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Wilma was a category 5, while Hermine was a category 1 that didn’t affect us much (at least not Orlando). We have been lucky to dodge most of the ones that have come our way and even survived Hurricane Wilma, but this year it seems as though hurricanes have had enough and are now aiming for Florida. After Hurricane Hermine, I thought another hurricane would not occur…oh how very wrong I was!

Hurricane Matthew is fast approaching Florida and as the news reports, it is only getting stronger. Matthew is right now a category 4 and it is coming straight for Florida. Of course other states are also going to get hit by Matthew if it keeps its path, but for now Matthew is ready to hit us hard.

Store in Orlando, FL left with empty shelves as people prepare for Matthew.

Store in Orlando, FL left with empty shelves as people prepare for Matthew.

As someone who has been working with out of state people, I wondered what it was that they would be doing. The airlines are not flying in or out of Florida, the shelves in stores are empty and the hotels are full of evacuees. So what would they be doing? Do they even know how to protect themselves against a hurricane? Their hotel will probably tell them what to do and give them updates, but if I were a tourist going through a hurricane, I would like to know how to better prepare myself and so I decided to make a list of things tourists should know.

The only canned food left at the Dollar Store. No Chef Boyardi in sight.

The only canned food left at the Dollar Store. No Chef Boyardi in sight.

  1. Make sure to have food and water. The hotel may or may not provide this, but it is always a good idea to have a back-up. Even if you don’t use it, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Make sure to have first aid equipment. Again, the hotel may or may not have it, but you should still carry one.
  3. Make sure your phone is completely charged and any other equipment you can use. When there is a hurricane, the power may go off. If this happens, at least you have your phone which you can use as a flashlight, a form of entertainment or to keep updated.
  4. Do not go outside during a hurricane. You have no idea how many times I’ve seen people go out during a hurricane. It is one of the dumbest things you can do. Being indoors is a much safer place.
  5. If you are outdoors, when the hurricane is in your area, get to the nearest place and stay there. Do not attempt to go to your hotel, do not try to drive a car. It is very dangerous.
  6. Do what the hotel tells you to do. Listen to the employees in the hotels, they know what they need to do and are very much familiar with hurricanes.
  7. Do not panic. Panicking will do you no good. If anything, it will just make things worse for you. Stay calm, play it safe and you will make it through. Take it from someone who has been through hurricane Andrew!

So if you are ever in Florida and you find yourself going through a hurricane, be prepared! Hopefully Hurricane Matthew won’t hit us too hard or at all. I guess we will find out and see.

until next time,

Hanny