Preparing for Hurricanes
In many areas of the United States, hurricanes can take place every year. There are specific times of the year when the hurricane is more likely to hit, but realistically, they can come at any time. Hurricanes have hit during times of the year which are not common at all. Hurricane season is usually June through November. Some of the worst hurricanes have not taken place in that time span however, so there is every reason to expect the unexpected when it comes to storms and weather.
There are two key aspects of staying safe in any situation. One is to prepare in advance for the things that you know or think may happen in any given situation. The other is to act on the situation and to work within the parameters of the plans and preparations that you have made once you are given notice of the situation by the weather report of the news broadcast.
In the event of a hurricane, fortunately there is usually adequate time to make good preparations. In most cases, people are aware of the hurricane moving toward land. In some cases you have days to prepare for the situation. While this does not mean that other things won't happen or that other events won't take place such as a tornado or a storm surge you can prepare for those things as well. Taking steps to be sure that you have all that you need ready to go means that you have bags packed in the event that you have to leave and supplies laid in for the event that you can't leave.
In a hurricane, some of the things that you're going to be doing without are water, food, and electricity.
Before a Hurricane Arrives
Listen to the forecasts and be sure that you're able to ride out the hurricane. In the event that you cannot then take steps to move to other ground where you will be safer. If you're unable to leave the area, you will want to take these precautions as advised by the National Weather and and Emergency Management
Put together a hurricane preparedness kit
- Have three days supply of water-one gallon for each person
- Three days supply of any prescription medication
- Top quality first aid kit
- Rain gear
- Battery powered or crank lanterns
- Battery powered or hand crank weather radio
- Several charged cell phones.
- Spare dry clothing
- Blankets or emergency blankets
To prepare your home:
- Make sure that you have all of your disaster supplies in place.
- Close your windows and your storm shutters. If your home does not have storm shutters, board up your windows using plywood.
- Bring anything that the hurricane winds may use as a projectile. Put it in an inside area or in a garage so that it is not left to become a hazard in gale force winds.
- Turn your refrigerator and your freezer to the coldest setting possible and avoid opening it in order to preserve the cold for when the power goes out.
- Turn off any propane or outdoor gas tanks.
- Fill your car with gas.
- Turn off the hot water tank if it is gas powered and unplug any appliances that may not be in use at the time.
If you are able to leave and you are ordered to do so, leave the area immediately. Always let family and friends or someone else know where you are and what you are doing.
If there is a chance that you are going to ride out the hurricane you wil want to be sure that your home will take the hurricane winds safely. If you live in a mobile home or other manufactured home in many cases they will not. go to a hurricane shelter in order to ensure your safety and that of your family.
In the event that you are not ordered to leave, bear in mind that hurricanes can spawn tornadoes and other severe weather events. Listen to weather radio and be sure that you are aware of other weather problems that are going on at the time to be prepared for them.
Once the Hurricane is Over
- When you return to your home, there are a few things that you must keep in mind
- Check on any neighbors who have not yet emerged from their home
- Continue listening to the weather radio to monitor developments such as flooding
- Stay alert for more weather changes including tornadoes or flooding
- Drive only when you must and stay well away from flooded areas.
- Inspect your home for damages and make sure that you are aware of any problems. Take photos of damage to the house and property.
- Do NOT use candles in your home in the event that you have no power. User battery or crank lighting to prevent a spark igniting some type of flammable gas or liquid.
- Check food for spoilage and throw away as necessary. If it is unthawed never use it.
- Use the telephone only as you need to in order to alert family or to make emergency calls.\
- Stay out of the buildings which are surrounded by water.
- Do not use the water until you are sure that it is not contaminated. Use only bottled water.
- Watch carefully for downed power lines and other dangerous elements.
The aftermath of a hurricane can be other severe weather events and several different types of danger. Make sure that you are alert and aware of what is going on around you at all times until you are sure that you and your family are safe.