Hurricane Matthew is on track to slam into Savannah, Georgia, early tomorrow morning (October 8). Who knows what damage the “holiest” city in Girl Scouting will suffer.
I am extra anxious about the impending storm because my daughter is a sophomore at the Savannah College of Art and Design. In fact, her dorm is on the same street as the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, about two blocks west.
She evacuated Tuesday night and is home safe in Maryland, but we have no idea when she will return.
But never fear, the Girl Scouts are ready for anything, including hurricanes.
Several years ago, the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle issued Hurricane Preparedness Council’s Own badges for Brownies and Juniors. While these badges are no longer available, they contained lessons that are still valid today and that can be applied to many disaster scenarios.
There is also a similar patch program developed by Nation’s Capital and FEMA.
They all teach the same basic lesson: have a plan and review it often. Don’t waste time wondering what you should do, BE PREPARED!
To all of my friends at the Birthplace and First Headquarters, stay safe! We will be thinking of you.
Hurricane Preparedness, Florida Panhandle
Do 5 activities including one starred:
1. Look at a map or globe of the earth. Look for the horizontal lines called latitudes and the vertical lines called longitudes. Any spot on the globe can be pinpointed by the intersection of latitudinal line and the longitudinal line that the town falls on or near. The intersection of these two lines is called coordinates is measured in degrees. Find your city on a hurricane tracking map. Know the coordinates of your city. Learn how to use a tracing map to follow the path of a storm by using the coordinates.
2. Learn the terminology of the storms. Know the difference between a tropical wave, a tropical depression, a tropical storm and a hurricane. Be able to explain “hurricane watch” and “hurricane warning”.
3. Hurricanes are grouped together according to the strength of the storm. A hurricane will fall into one of five groups called categories. Learn the difference between the categories of a hurricane. Find out what categories of hurricanes have affected your area and how each category affected your area in relation to the damage and long term effects felt.
4. Make a hurricane checklist for your family. Include how to decide whether to stay or evacuate. If you evacuate, show on a map what route you would take and where your destination would be. Also indicate what items you would take with you.
*5. Help you family prepare a hurricane preparation kit. Make a list of supplies that you have prepared. Where are these items stored? How do you prepare the house (windows, water supply, outside items) for the storm?
6. Once a storm reaches the strength where it is classified as a tropical storm, it is given a name. What is the history behind naming hurricanes? How are names decided on? Are any names not used anymore and why? Make a chart of hurricane names for 2 different years.
7. Discuss with your troop your personal experience with hurricanes or hurricane warnings. Discuss how you feel before, during and after the storm. Do you and your family feel that you made the best decision whether to stay or evacuate? How do you feel now when hurricane season begins?
8. Invite an emergency management official to visit or take a field trip to the office of a local government, military, or college campus hurricane preparedness department. Learn how information is received into the office and how it is dispersed to the public.
9. With your troop, plan games and activities to do during a hurricane. Discuss what kinds of activities are better that others and why. Share what activities you may have done during a hurricane. Have supplies ready in your hurricane preparedness kit for these activities.
10. Find out about the shelters in your area. Where are they located? How do you decide whether to stay in your house or go to a shelter? Are shelters designed for specific needs such as the handicapped, medical needs, or the elderly? If anyone in your group has ever gone to a shelter during a hurricane, ask them to share their experiences.
11. Find out how hospitals, nursing care facilities, and prisons prepare for hurricanes. What special preparations do zoos, animal shelters and aviaries have to take?
©2016 Ann Robertson