Seeing the storm coverage of Hurricane Irma flash across the headlines brings back frightful memories for Carol Frazer Haynesworth, co-author, "Your Great Destiny", experienced the devastating effects of Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. "We lost our belongings, our [car] rental was destroyed, I was barefoot…” recounts Haynesworth.
Haynesworth had flown to Miami with her parents to help move her younger sister into her dorm room at the end of August—the height of hurricane season.
“My sister was going to be a Freshman [at the] University of Tampa. We would stay overnight in MIA and drive to Tampa the next day,” she recalls.
But their plans came to a screeching halt when the city of Miami went under a mandatory evacuation and Hurricane Andrew hit the shores. Her family’s hotel reservations in South Beach were cancelled and they were forced to stay with her father’s cousin in a nearby beach community.
“And the rest is history,” says Haynesworth.
They spent the night in a minivan in her cousin’s garage. “My mother suffered a mild heart attack. It was the worst experience,” she says.
Here’s what Haynesworth offers up as survival tips and lessons learned from Hurricane Andrew for anyone who may be stuck in a future hurricane’s path:
- Keep your shoes on
If a window breaks, then you don't want to be barefoot. The high winds blow everything out. “[Being barefoot was the] reason why I stepped on a nail when help arrived,” shares Haynesworth.
- Go to a closet or room without windows
Have towels at hand for the bottom of the door. Once the wind is inside the house the goal is to prevent wind in your room. Once it's inside that's when structures can come apart.
- Stay In
No matter how scared you get, don't attempt to go out or drive. If your area is badly affected the emergency crews will come house by house once they can access your neighborhood.
- Keep a radio nearby
“That radio with batteries will keep you informed,” says Haynesworth.
- Hang tight
While it feels like a million years, it has to pass. After it does it's completely calm.
- Stick Together
Everyone should be together. Not in different rooms. “We almost lost a member because she was on the other side of the house, where the wind had essentially already blown everything,” says Haynesworth.
- Keep cash in your pockets
Once wind gets in the house your purse or wallet may end-up three houses away.
Reminder: the advice above is from an everyday citizen who got caught in the storm. For expert safety tips and emergency guidance, visit the disaster relief pages at FEMA.org and the American Red Cross.