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Preparing Yourself and Your Family for a Hurricane

Hurricane prep is essential for all individuals that live in the danger zone of a potential hurricane. This includes anyone who lives near warm ocean waters such as the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Don’t wait a second longer to prepare for these tropical storms that bring dangerous weather including strong winds, heavy downpours, flooding and power outages.

Preparing for a hurricane includes stocking up your home and car with emergency supplies, planning an evacuation route, having a satellite phone to use for emergency communication and protecting your home. 

Here we’ll provide the necessary information you need to get prepared for a hurricane RIGHT NOW, as well as important resources to utilize while preparing for a hurricane and what to do if you find yourself amidst a hurricane disaster.

Best Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. 

Knowing when these storms are most likely to occur is important, but with a 6-month window of time that hurricane season lasts, it’s impossible to pinpoint just when (or exactly where) one may occur.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30 (so close to the same range of time). What this means is that you need to be prepared before this half-year season begins. 

Utilizing the other six months of the year to ensure you will be well equipped in the unfortunate event that you find your home in the path of a hurricane is the most prudent thing you can do. 

Anticipating the Risk Will Keep You Prepared

No one wants to believe they will be caught in a hurricane or any other natural disaster. Unfortunately, they do happen and can even happen to you. 

According to Internal-Displacement, the Atlantic hurricane season displaced 3 million people in just one month. And 2020 brought a record-breaking number of hurricanes with 30 named storms. Though preventing them isn’t possible, better preparing yourself so you can keep your family safe is.

By understanding the risks associated with where you live or where you might be traveling, you’ll be able to be as prepared as possible. That means having the proper provisions, necessary tools, and a constant line of communication by way of a satellite phone.

Of course, you don’t plan to be amidst a natural disaster. Even in areas where they are common, it’s still fairly rare that you might get caught in one. However, it does happen and no one should ever assume that it wouldn’t happen to them. A hurricane is a perfect example.

Beyond that, you need to be ready to stay calm and take action if the time ever comes. Be ready to board up your home and hunker down if that’s your only option, or evacuate when ordered to do so. Listen to your local TV and radio stations for constant updates and keep your satellite phone with you at all times.

Best Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane

For those who live along the Atlantic coast or in the gulf area, hurricanes and tropical storms pose a real threat. The hurricane season runs from June through November, so it’s especially important during these times that people have the proper provisions and plans in place in case one does ever hit their area. People are often ready with extra canned food and water, but not prepared for the communication need that will likely arise.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane if You Live and Work in a Hurricane-Prone Area

You might be wondering why you can't plan to use your cell phone in times of hurricane emergencies. Let's take a look at these statistics from Government Tech - Emergency Management:

Because hurricanes build fairly slowly (they usually take days to develop), residents living in areas that are predicted to be affected usually have time to quickly make arrangements and evacuate if necessary. 

However, this is NOT the time when you should be heading to the hardware store to buy supplies to protect your home or business (or be learning how to do it). You should already have everything you need (and the know-how) to quickly board up your home and get out.

Here’s what to do ahead of time so you can be as prepared as possible when you find out a hurricane or tropical storm is on its way:

    1. Plan your evacuation route well ahead of time. A hurricane, or coastal, evacuation route is a highway that has been designated as a specified route for hurricane evacuation. The quicker that you can get out of your house and on your way, the likelier you won’t end up stuck close to where the hurricane hits landfall. Remember, EVERYONE is all headed inland, so there is no time to waste. Additionally, make sure you know ahead of time your final destination of where you’ll wait out the storm to pass.

       

  • Keep water and non-perishable emergency supplies on hand. As stated above, if evacuation is recommended or ordered, every person in your area is going to frantically be trying to gather what they need and get out. This is not the time to be going to the grocery store trying to secure the necessary provisions. Have these ready to go and easily accessible, so that you can pack up as quickly as possible.

     

  1. Review your insurance policies. According to Nerd Wallet, Homeowners Insurance policies do not cover floods. This means you’ll need to ensure that you have flood insurance that may be caused by storm surges like a hurricane. They go on to say that windstorm damage may not be covered either. Windstorm insurance policies may need to be purchased separately. Bottom line – don’t assume your homeowner’s insurance will cover all (or any) of the damage that could happen to your home.

     

  2. Take steps to protect your home. The first step to safe-guarding your home included boarding up windows and doors. This can be done with plywood or storm shutters. You’ll also want to pile sandbags around your home to protect your home from flooding. Be sure any loose objects outside of your home (such as patio furniture, garbage cans, etc) are picked up and secured in an indoor area. If you own a business, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected in the same way.

     

  3. Take an inventory of your personal property. If a hurricane causes destruction to your home, the hardest part will bearing the emotional toll that it will take on you. Trying to remember what all was destroyed or is missing will be a difficult task in those moments. Therefore, you want to do this ahead of time. Take stock of anything valuable in your home by taking photos and recording serial numbers. This way, you can easily hand over the information to your insurance company when filing the claim.

We know that no one wants to have to think about this happening to them. It’s not a good feeling to have to think about being in this situation. But the reality is that getting caught in a hurricane in certain areas of the world is possible, and the most important thing is that you prepare ahead so you can keep your family safe. 

 

How to Prepare for a Hurricane if You Travel to a Hurricane-Prone Area

Though it’s ideal to plan your travel to places such as the Southeastern U.S., the Caribbean or Mexico outside the June – November window, we know that isn’t always possible. There are ways to take precautionary measures that allow you to have an enjoyable trip while still being prepared, just in case. The first thing you’ll want to do is check the National Hurricane Center website before you leave for your trip. If a hurricane is predicted to occur during your trip dates, it’s important to make the best choice to keep yourself and family safe – even if that means cancelling the trip you’ve been looking forward to.

  1. Secure Travel Insurance – Purchasing travel insurance can give you the peace of mind that if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to a hurricane, you’ll receive a full or partial refund depending on the plan you choose.

  2. Pay Attention to Hurricane Warnings – Though it’s nice to “turn it all off” when you go on vacation, it’s important to pay attention to weather alerts and heed any hurricane warnings like evacuations. 

  3. Have an Emergency Plan in Place – Make sure your entire group knows where to meet in case of separation. 

  4. Bring a Travel Emergency Kit – Though it won’t be possible to bring an entire hurricane preparedness kit, we highly recommend that you have the main essentials with you such as a small first aid kit, a satellite phone, medications, IDs and water.

Preparing for a hurricane also includes taking the time during the off-season to put together a hurricane emergency supply kit. Do this now, and don’t wait until it’s too late.

Preparing a Basic Hurricane Emergency Supply Kit

One of the most important steps in preparing for a hurricane is to gather necessary supplies to create a hurricane emergency supply kit. This may seem like a lot now, but not to be cliché, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. 

Here’s what you’ll want to be sure to include in your hurricane emergency supply kit:

 

  1. Satellite Phone – You might be wondering why you cannot plan to use your cell phone in times of hurricane emergencies. Unfortunately, a common occurrence during a hurricane is compromised internet and phone service. Below you’ll find our top satellite phone recommendation.
  2. First Aid Kit – You should always keep a well-stocked first aid kit with essential safety supplies. The Deluxe All Purpose First Aid Kit from the American Red Cross is a good option.

  3. Flashlight – Downed power lines are inevitable during a hurricane, so be sure you have a flashlight or two ready to go.

  4. AM/FM Radio/NOAA Weather Radio – This will keep you up-to-date on emergency information, news and weather for your affected area.

  5. Extra batteries – Be sure you have extra batteries compatible with your flashlight, radio and anything else you’ll need to use in your emergency supply kit.

  6. Whistle – This will serve as a quick distress signal if necessary.

  7. Multi-Purpose Tool – A good one to have in your kit will include scissors, Phillips and flathead screwdrives, can opener, knives, blades, file, and wire cutter. 

  8. Blankets or Sleeping Bags – You may not know how long before help can arrive. Be sure to have enough blankets to keep each member of your family warm if you become displaced. 

  9. Warm Clothes – Be sure to have one change of clothes per person in your emergency supply kit.

  10. Hygiene Products – Hand sanitizer, toilet paper and moist towelettes are just a few of the top things to have.

  11. Medications – Be sure that you have enough medication to last you a week since you won’t know how long it may take to get it refilled. This also includes anything like extra contacts or eyeglasses or necessary medical equipment.

  12. Critical Documents – This includes photo IDs, medical records, personal records, property records, and financial information. We recommend keeping these in a portable, waterproof container and stored in a safe until you need them.

  13. Supply of Food and Water – Make sure that you have enough water and food to last each person in your family for 3 days. 1 gallon of water per person per day is a good rule of thumb.

  14. We have put together a comprehensive printable checklist for you to utilize to properly prepare your Hurricane Emergency Supply Kit. We have included additional lines for you to add in any extra items that you know you will not be able to live without for a few days. 

Staying Connected During a Hurricane

For those who live along the Atlantic coast or in the gulf area, hurricanes and tropical storms pose a real threat. People who have lived in these areas are often ready with extra canned food and water, but not prepared for the communication need that will likely arise. Most people think having a cell phone is all you need. But that could not be further from the truth. 

It is not uncommon for cell towers to get knocked down and when this happens, cell phone capability is lost and call centers cease to function. Making phone calls, sending text messages and accessing the internet will be impossible if this occurs. 

If you still aren’t convinced, take a look at what happened during Hurricane Harvey:

  1. 200,000 homes lost telephone and internet service
  2. More than 360 cell towers were knocked down
  3. 16,911 call centers were compromised

Additionally, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina knocked out 1,000 cell towers. And 2018’s Hurricane Michael, left some people without cell service for close to two weeks.

Imagine needing to get a hold of the people you love the most in these crucial times and not having the ability to do so. This is a lifeline you don’t want to be without and that’s why it’s imperative that you prepare by having a satellite phone.

The Best Emergency Satellite Phone for a Hurricane

The communication solution is having a satellite phone that’s charged and ready to go. You want to ensure that you have one that is reliable and will work in your area. Iridium and Inmarsat are two of the best networks for satellite device operation. Don’t be left looking back in hindsight wishing your would have had a satellite phone. 

Our top recommendation is the Iridium 9555 or the Iridium 9575 Extreme which is equipped with a fully integrated SOS button and emergency response service. 

Utilizing a satellite phone on the Iridium network is one of the best ways to prepare your family for its communication needs in times of a hurricane. You’ll never have to worry about phone lines being down, fallen cell towers, or an overload of people trying to places calls all at the same time. Having one of these Iridium phones will give you the peace of mind you need in case a hurricane ever hits your area. You may also consider purchasing a BGAN terminal like the Explorer 710, which will function as a Wifi spot so you won’t have to worry about being without internet during the storm.

Though you may think that satellite phones and devices are too expensive, it’s important to know that you are able to buy a lower priced plan since you’ll only need it in the event of an emergency. Beyond purchasing the phone or terminal, you’ll only need to pay for the minutes that you use. And ultimately, you can’t put a price on keeping your family safe. At Satmodo, we will answer all your questions to get you set up with the right phone and service for your needs.

Best Emergency Satellite Phones For Hurricane Prep​

Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone front

Iridium 9555 Kit
iridium emergency plan:

The Iridium 9555 is the ultimate go-to satellite phone for all emergency responders. If you are looking for a satellite phone for your basic talk and text needs this is the best option.

  • Water-tight Hardcase
  • 2 Fully Charged Batteries
  • 12V Charger
  • Magnetic Antenna Mount
  • Wall Charger
  • International Adapters
  • Quick Cheat Sheet Guide

Explorer 710

At the forefront of a new era of high speed ultra-portable satellite streaming BGAN terminal, EXPLORER 710 is a sophisticated communication tool for broadcasting and other IP based industry applications. EXPLORER 710 provides streaming rates over 650 kbps out of the box, when using new high data rate streaming.With EXPLORER 710, you can leverage the fastest on-demand video streaming via satellite with guaranteed QoS to enhance the quality of live broadcasts and remote communication.

Cobham Explorer 710

Don’t Wait to Protect Yourself if a Hurricane Comes

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be prepared with the hurricane emergency essentials long before one ever hits. If you have further questions about how to properly prepare a hurricane, we recommend you consult the useful resources we’ve included below. You will be thankful that you took the time in advance to get everything in order if the unfortunate event of a hurricane occurs in your area.

PREPARING A BASIC HURRICANE EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT​

  • Satellite Phone
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Medical records
  • AM/FM radio/NOAA Weather Radio
  • Extra Batteries
  • Medications for at least one week
  • Property records
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • And More...
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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

When any disaster strikes, whether it be a hurricane, flood, domestic terrorism, tornado, or fire, the situation has the potential to create chaos and confusion. Effective disaster preparedness helps alleviate some of the chaos wrought by the unexpected crisis. It is critical to have a written plan in place.

  1. Plan your evacuation route well ahead of time
  2. Keep non-perishable emergency supplies on hand
  3. Take an inventory of your personal property
  4. Review your insurance policies
  5. Take steps to protect your home
  6. Take steps to protect your business
  1. Canned foods such as tuna, salmon, vegetables, or fruits.
  2. Instant soup mixes.
  3. Peanut butter.
  4. Cereal.
  5. Apples.
  6. Boxed potatoes.
  7. Crackers.

one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

– Stay inside and away from windows, skylights, and glass doors. Find a safe area in your home (an interior room, a closet or bathroom on the lower level).

– If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.

– If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.

– Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer.

– Do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. Also, do not go outside to see “what the wind feels like.” It is too easy to be hit by flying debris.

– Beware of lightning. Stay away from electrical equipment. Don’t use the phone or take a bath/shower during the storm.

 

*A windowless interior bathroom –

A windowless bathroom that is away from exterior walls can be a good place because there will be plumbing pipes that can provide additional protection besides the heavy walls. Moreover, this is the place that weather authorities often recommend that people go to during tornado warnings – especially when there is no basement.

  1. Protect yourself from high winds and flooding
  2. Safe places during a hurricane
  3. Don’t leave shelter
  4. Don’t use electrical appliances
  5. Don’t take a bath or shower during the storm
  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground.
  • Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

Public advisories are issued for all Atlantic and eastern Pacific tropical or subtropical cyclones.

Public advisories for Atlantic tropical cyclones are normally issued every six hours at 5:00 AM EDT, 11:00 AM EDT, 5:00 PM EDT, and 11:00 PM EDT (or 4:00 AM EST, 10:00 AM EST, 4:00 PM EST, and 10:00 PM EST).

Public advisories for Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones are normally issued every six hours at 2:00 AM PDT, 8:00 AM PDT, 2:00 PM PDT, and 8:00 PM PDT (or 1:00 AM PST, 7:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM PST, and 7:00 PM PST).

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