Photojournalists in south Texas are prepping to cover Hurricane Harvey―a Category 2 storm that meteorologists are predicting will bring as much as 35 inches of rain into the region with winds of 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
For those covering the storm, we’re sharing the NPPA Safety & Security Task Force’s Hurricane Coverage guidelines, which are outlined below and can be found in full here.
1. Turn around, don’t drown.
Half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water, the NPPA guidelines note. It is never safe to drive into flood waters.
2. Pack your go-bag with essential items, things you’ll need besides your camera gear.
Think clothes for bad weather, appropriate footwear, medication and toiletries, first aid kit, vehicle emergency supplies including at least one five-gallon gas jug. Consider chest waders, a life jacket and a length of rope if you plan to walk in flooded waters.
3. Before you go, do your research.
Check and see if there’s a public notification alert option for the area where you plan to go. Look for the “Emergency Management” website of the area you will be covering. Bookmark these sites on your phone and laptop and learn how to quickly search for updated information to have all the necessary information to make safe decisions. Check the National Hurricane Center.
4. Bring cash.
Don’t rely on credit cards or ATMs. The NPPA suggests that $600 per person should be okay.
5. Communicate and navigate.
Have a plan for communicating with—and checking in with— your loved ones and editors. Don’t rely on cellphone service. By now, most journalists heading towards the storm should have arranged to use satellite phones, two-way radios, multiple cellphone providers, satellite tracker messaging devices, etc.
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