Many people tend to ignore the dangers of Hurricanes until they experience the full force of being in the line-of-fire for a strong storm.
It’s common for people to be near a hurricane, but have never had a loss of property, they may disregard the threat of a big storm coming.
If you live in an area that could be affected by a hurricane, whether it’s your first year there or if you’ve seen a dozen hurricanes and tell your friends about the “really bad ones”, you should be ready for the worst, just in case.
Making Plans in Advance
There’s no such thing as too soon. Late summer and fall is hurricane season.
Make sure you have a plan in place for hurricane season, even if it’s weeks ahead of a potential storm. Better safe than sorry!
- If you live in a coastal area, find people farther inland that are ready to accept you – friends, family, coworkers – and confirm with them and make sure arrangements are made.
- If you live farther inland and it’s likely that you are not going to be affected by the hurricane, ready a room and check in with your friends and family that may be affected and see if they need a place to stay.
- Tag your pets and make arrangements for them. Do not leave your pets behind in the storm.
- Check with your employers about their time-off procedure for storms and make a plan with them in case you need to evacuate or if you’re stuck in your home.
- Buy actual, physical maps. Just in case. They rarely go out of date, and you don’t need to plug them in.
- Keep your gas tank full every day as storms approach. Doesn’t hurt to have a spare gas can, either.
What to Pack To Prepare
Most people have a good idea of their own personal needs, but sometimes things get forgotten.
So double-check to make sure you have these things, and in the weeks before a storm, pay attention to all the things you need or use, so you can be ready when the storm lands. Here’s a good storm-readiness checklist:
- Waterproof, sealed first-aid kit with disinfectants, bandages, and instructions.
- A functioning, up-to-code fire extinguisher
- Battery-powered light sources, preferably waterproof.
- Twice as many batteries as you think you’ll need for all of the different devices you’re packing.
- USB Power Banks, preferably a solar charger if you can budget them.
- Non-powered cooking and eating utensils.
- At least two weeks of necessary medications. You may be able to ask your doctor ahead of time for additional supply, depending on the substance control level.
- Non-perishable foods, which you should buy far in advance – you’ve seen the pictures of the empty grocery store aisles.
- Physical maps, preferably with annotations and notes of evacuation routes.
- Flares, spare tire, and small toolbox to be able to make small fixes.
- Sleeping Bags, contained in waterproof bags.
- Cell phones, chargers, and waterproof casing to be able to put them in in the event of complete flooding.
- Cash, in case, when power is down at local vendors
- Toilet paper, storing in an air-tight container.
- Thick, plastic garbage bags, which can be used for both containing things and disposing of things
- Alcohol wipes, especially when tap water may be contaminated or if you come into contact with floodwater.
- Waterproof boots, preferably even rainboots or over-shoes.
- Bleach, sealed and airtight
- Any sanitary or medical device needs, i.e. tampons, pads, diabetic supplies, inhalers. Extras should be stored in an airtight, waterproof container.
Where to Look for Information
You can’t always trust the things you see on the internet. Be careful of:
- Screenshots that are not shared by Verified Accounts. Most social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a system of Blue Verification check marks to verify official news stations, meteorologists, or weather teams. While not infallible, these sources are more trustworthy than a random Facebook friend.
- Fake websites that look like regular news sites. Even if the site says “Secure” or has the “https://” before it, it could be a fake. Use a trusted search engine, such as Google or Bing, and bookmark your local weather stations URLs in your browser.
- Wrong timestamps – if people are sharing posts from last year, it will apply to a completely different storm. Be vigilant to make sure you’re paying attention to only current information.
A good place to find information is https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ – the National Hurricane Center’s official website. Or you can listen to local radio or TV stations. Stay up-to-date and stay informed so you know when it’s time to evacuate, if necessary.
Where to Go During A Hurricane
First and foremost, if local authorities tell you to evacuate, evacuate. Do not wait and see to tough it out. Storm damage can never be accurately predicted, so don’t wait to see if it’s “really going to be that bad” to find yourself in danger without access to emergency medical care.
If you do stay home and the storm hits your area, stay inside until the storm has completely passed. Stay away from windows or glass, as debris can shatter these and injure you. While the storm is hitting, stay in rooms like a bathroom or closet, preferably inside the house, in case walls are damaged or ripped off during the storm.
Be sure that a pause in the wind isn’t just the eye of the storm overhead. If you are in the eye of the storm, the dangers may calm down for a brief moment, before picking back up again. If you still have cell service, use the internet to see where the storm is before leaving the house.
You may lose access to the internet, phone lines, or even basic cellular service during a storm. Ask your local authorities what to do in the event of a medical emergency. If you can’t drive or leave the house, there is a good chance medical professionals won’t be able to get to you either. Make these plans before and avoid injuries the best you can.
The basics of storm preparedness is planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
Most areas that are known to experience hurricanes during hurricane season usually have resources to be able to help citizens affected by storms. Check with your local government for localized expertise in dealing with hurricane season.