With a large portion of the country still working to recover from Hurricane Harvey, and another region now bracing itself for the destruction Hurricane Irma brings with it, the U.S. Army has been playing an active role in the preparation, rescue, and recovery efforts for weeks now.  Thursday, as Florida prepares for Irma’s arrival, the Army released guidance to military personnel and civilians in the massive storm’s projected path, to help ensure Americans have what they need, whether sheltering in place, or preparing to evacuate.

The guidance, prepared by James Dean, the contingency planner with the Fort Stewart Directorate of Plans, Mobilization and Security at Fort Stewart, Georgia, has three simple tips that he believes will help ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your loved ones.

“Have a plan to evacuate; have a kit to support your family and pets for three days and stay informed,” Dean offered as advice before reminding all service members and civilians alike that September is National Preparedness Month and that it pays to be proactive, particularly for those living on the East coast.

“Most of the year, we’re in hurricane season — from May through November,” Dean said. “This is the height of the hurricane season. Most hurricanes happen in the Atlantic August and September.”

In the Army release, Daryl Lusk, safety specialist with the Fort Stewart Safety Office, also chimed in with his own advice, which he says he’s gained through a combination of real life experience and the training he’s received working for the Army.  His recommendations were sourced from FEMA’s hurricane training:pay attention to the news to track the upcoming storm’s progress

  • create an emergency supply kit
  • ensure vehicles are fueled up and serviceable
  • store loose items around the house such as hoses and grills
  • follow local directions from the local authorities.

Military personnel are also reminded to maintain open lines of communication with their chain of command, in order to ensure overall force accountability.  For civilians, that serves as good advice as well, but include family, rather than formal command structure, in your notifications.

Other advice offered by the Army’s specialists included unplugging appliances before evacuating your homes, bring a minimum of three days’ worth of any prescribed medications with you, and, of course, “Take your pets with you,” Lusk said.

For those evacuating with pets, be sure to bring a pet carrier or crate, as some shelters will not permit entrance to pets without one.