Hurricanes are the brutal force of Mother Nature that can cause devastation and havoc when they strike. From storm surges to wind damage and flooding to rip currents, any form of a hurricane is equally disastrous. Furthermore, it isn’t a coastal threat as the rain, water, wind, and tornadoes caused by a hurricane can happen inland due to the tropical storm.
So, if you hear a hurricane warning on the news or receive an alert on your phone, it is time to prepare for a hurricane and ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. If you are wondering how to prepare for hurricane season, this post is just what you need. So without further ado, let us get cracking!
7 Tips to Prepare for the Hurricane Season
Here are seven tips that will help you prepare for a hurricane.
Creating an Emergency Plan
The Hurricane season usually starts as early as May 15th and lasts until November 30th. Therefore, it is best to plan ahead and prepare for hurricane season before it begins.
For this, you should write down a proper evacuation and other protective measure plan and paste it on a refrigerator where all family members can read it. It is crucial to write down all emergency authorities’ phone numbers and paste this information where everyone can see and read it. It would be a great idea to save these numbers on your phones and keep them on speed dial.
You must also locate the nearest shelters and know different routes to get there. Don’t rely on Google Maps, as disruption of power, internet, and mobile networks may leave you stranded without a GPS. If you are a pet owner, know the pet shelters or pet-friendly hotels in case you have to evacuate your home.
You can also ask a family or friend living outside the hurricane zone to take care of your pet till the threat is over. It is important that everyone in your family is aware of the emergency plan.
Gathering Emergency Supplies
It would be best if you didn’t wait for a hurricane alert or warning. Prepare for the hurricane season before it begins. This will help avoid the last-minute frenzy. You are going to need supplies amidst and post-hurricane to keep your family healthy and safe.
A hurricane can last for days and cut off your water supply, power, and any communication with the outside world. Furthermore, blocked roads and flooded areas can prevent you from driving away to a safer zone. Therefore, you must stock up on the following supplies:
- Water and food
- Medicine and first aid
- Emergency power backup, including flashlights, extra batteries, power banks for smartphones, etc.
- Backup communication systems such as satellite phones at home and in your car. You can get a portable satellite phone set that you can take with you on the move.
- You must also keep important documents safely, such as your personal identification, medical documents, passports, wills, etc.
Access to Sources for Alerts and Warnings
You must have access to all sources that issue hurricane alerts and warnings. For instance, you can download the FEMA app to receive real-time alerts. The National Weather Service also gives out real-time alerts for up to five locations in the U.S. You can also sign up for your local community alerts. Other services include Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). However, these two don’t require any sign-up.
There is a possibility that you may have to evacuate in a hurry and move to an evacuation zone. Therefore, you must learn about your nearest evacuation zone and routes to get there. You must stay in touch with local emergency managers who work closely with communities, territorial, and tribal agencies.
However, you must not rely on the traditional cell phone services, as the networks may be down for many days during and after the hurricane. In this case, the best option is to get yourself and your loved ones satellite phones to stay connected with the authorities as well as with each other.
Suppose you have to evacuate. In that case, grab the emergency supply kit you prepared, as mentioned in the previous tip.
Before leaving, unplug all your home appliances and switch off all-electric, gas, and water supplies. Follow the route to your evacuation zone; if you come across a flooded area, don’t try to be a daredevil by driving through it. To your knowledge, only 6 inches of moving water can stall your vehicle or sweep it away. Act Smart.
In case you have a disabled family member, you may need additional assistance during an evacuation or emergency. For example, you must plan for accessible transportation in advance. You can check with the local emergency management agency to help identify the right accessible options.
Getting Your Home Ready
Make sure that your house, its front, and its backyard have nothing that could possibly blow around to injure a person or cause damage to your or others’ property. Clear your yard, move your lawn furniture, as well as any bikes, brills, building material, etc.
You can nail plywood planks on your window’s outer frame or use a storm shutter to protect your windows. This can further prevent any incident of shattered glass injuring you or someone else. Make sure to turn the power off in case of flooding or evacuate to a safer place.
Replenish your drinking water supplies to prepare for a hurricane, as a storm may cut off your water supply for a couple of days or more. Keep a set of satellite phones handy as mobile networks and landlines may be out of service. A satellite phone will keep you connected with loved ones and emergency services at all times at home or on the road.
Prepping Your Vehicle
You have to ensure that your vehicle is ready to go before the hurricane hits your area. Therefore, fill up your gas tank to full (ideally). Always park your truck, car, or any type of vehicle under cover or garage. Keep emergency food, water, and medical supplies in your vehicle. In case you don’t own a car, call the relevant authorities to give you a ride in case of evacuation.
Your car must have the following items:
- Jumper cables
- Ice scrapers
- Reflective triangles or flares
- Car phone charger
- Satellite phone
- Sand or cat litter for better tire traction
Stay ‘Tech Ready’
While keeping your cell phone charged and backup charging devices will come in handy, cell phone networks and the internet can be down for many days to come. Therefore, you need technology that is more reliable and offers continuous communication with the outside world during hurricane season.
This is where a satellite phone will come in handy, as you can take it on the go. This way, you will stay connected with emergency authorities and loved ones and inform others about your current location in case you need help.
Once the hurricane is over, and you are ready to return home, only do so once the authorities approve it. Other post-hurricane homes-returning measures include:
- Avoiding dangling power lines. You must report such loose power lines to the local police, fire department, or power company.
- Beware and be cautious when entering your home. Keep an eye out for any insects, snakes, or other animals that may have entered your home due to flood waters.
- Let your home dry, and open the doors and windows for ventilation
- Check your refrigerator for spoiled food
- Photograph all damage done to your home. These images will help as proof when filing your insurance claims.
- Listen and smell for any possible gas leaks. If you doubt there is a gas leak, immediately leave your home and leave the doors open. Striking a match, igniting a cigarette, or spark of any kind may result in an explosion.
- Before you turn on your gas and electric systems, it is best to have them checked by a professional repair and maintenance service.
Getting Prepared for the Hurricane Season
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