Like many of you, I've been closely watching weather reports in an attempt to determine what Hurricane Florence may have in store for us. I've seen many suggestions for hurricane preparedness with lists that include everything from batteries and water to generators and MREs!
One item that always seems to be lacking on those hurricane preparedness lists is a way to safely move in strong winds and rain.
Here are 5 tips for walking safely in the wind and rain.
Tip #1. Don't!
The safest place to be during high winds and/or heavy rain is indoors. Postpone outdoor activities if a wind advisory, high wind warning, and/or flood watch or warning has been issued. Always follow the recommendations of city and state officials. Again, ALWAYS follow the recommendations of city and state officials.
Tip #2. If you must go out, be aware of your surroundings!
Scope out the scene before leaving your vehicle or building. Make a plan for getting to your destination. As you walk, take cover next to a building or under a shelter. Use handrails where available and avoid elevated areas without adequate railing. Watch for flying or falling debris. Do not go into flooded areas. It takes only 6" of rapidly moving water to knock a person down and carry them away.
Be aware of your surroundings once inside as well. Be sure to use doormats to dry the bottoms of your shoes. Often times, doormats can become saturated in extreme weather, so continue to be careful as to not slip and fall, especially when walking on cement, tile, or vinyl flooring.
Tip #3. Take Extra Precautions Near Roadways
Stand back from curbs to keep drivers from splashing you with run-off and to prevent a gust of wind from blowing you into the path of oncoming traffic. Anticipate that drivers don't see you and be a defensive walker. Always use sidewalks and/or crosswalks and obey crosswalk signals.
Tip #4. Wear Proper Clothing
Contrary to popular belief, carrying an umbrella can be difficult. (Just take a look at the blog photo!) Umbrellas can limit visibility and even be hard on wrists and shoulders for some people. Because of these issues, umbrellas are often ineffective, especially when you add wind as a factor. Replace your umbrella with waterproof/slip resistant shoes and good rain jacket with hood. Make sure your jacket is a bright color to help others see you since visibility is often an issue in bad weather.
Tip #5. Resist Distractions
Store your cell phone safely away in an inner pocket. Do not use earbuds or bluetooth devices until you are safe inside a building. Focus on your surroundings and safely getting to where you want to go, not on texting, talking, or listening to music.
In addition to the above tips, maintaining good balance plays an important role in walking safely no matter the weather or type of terrain. For Paul's advice on easy ways to test and improve balance, read his following blog posts:
Easy Ways to Test and Improve Balance: Part 1 of 2
Easy Ways to Test and Improve Balance: Part 2 of 2
If you are in an area impacted by the hurricane, we hope you'll be careful and stay safe.