WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hurricane Irma's forecast track changes hourly, but this massive, powerful storm has the potential to cause a devastating blow to the state of Florida, affecting millions of Americans and putting lives in danger. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Florida College of Emergency Physicians (FCEP) warn the public to take this situation very seriously.
"This hurricane has the grim potential to be as destructive, or perhaps even more destructive than Hurricane Harvey last week in the southeast Texas," said Dr. Becky Parker, president of ACEP. "Remember avoiding the hurricane in the first place is frequently the first step. If you're told by local authorities to evacuate, please leave as soon as possible."
Hurricane Irma is one of the strongest storms on record. The massive hurricane threatens much of Florida with dangerous winds, along with severe storm surge and heavy rains. For the latest information on Hurricane Irma's forecast and other storm-related information, continue to follow your local news as well as the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
"FCEP urges the entire Florida community to make the necessary arrangements and preparations as Hurricane Irma pushes onward, said Joel Stern, MD, FACEP, president of FCEP. Emergency preparedness and disaster assistance is one of the many things we prepare for as emergency physicians, especially in a state like Florida where the threat of hurricanes and other natural disasters are more prominent. Make sure to have an emergency disaster plan for you and your family in case of evacuation along with the necessary hurricane supply essentials."
During a hurricane:
- Remain calm.
- Reassure children that they are safe and explain what is happening. ACEP has a learning game called Disaster Hero that can help them. http://www.disasterhero.com/
- Listen to local radio and television stations for updates; follow all instructions.
- If the electricity goes out, listen to a battery-powered radio for instructions. If told to evacuate, leave right away. Use flashlights instead of matches.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly. Shut off any other damaged utilities (a professional will need to turn the gas back on).
- Clean up any spilled household chemicals, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Confine or secure your pets.
- Check on neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons
"Each person needs to do their part for themselves, and also for those who are more vulnerable," said Dr. Parker. "Take precautions, stock up on essential items, such as prescriptions medications, first aid supplies, food and water."
ACEP offers extensive disaster preparedness tips in its Family Disaster Preparedness Guide.
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Ricoand the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.