To stay safe during a hurricane, you will need a plan to ensure you can act fast as the storm approaches. A comprehensive emergency plan will help prepare you and your family to safely evacuate or shelter in place, as required for each storm in question. To ensure you address all the most important areas of hurricane preparation, make sure to use a checklist as you create your plan of action. Once you are prepared, all you have to do is monitor weather reports to receive advanced notice of a hurricane on the horizon.
Create a Disaster Supply Kit
Disaster supply kits allow you to keep everything you and your family may need in the days after a storm on hand at a moment’s notice. You will need to make highly portable and easy accessible disaster supply kits for each member of your family, including your beloved pets. You should also equip the vehicle you will use for evacuation with a comprehensive kit that covers your entire family in case you cannot get to your personal bags. A separate kit for your home will help you have access to food, water, and medical supplies in case you have to unexpectedly shelter in place as a storm quickly approaches.
Your disaster supply kits should include:
- At least three days worth of non-perishable food and drinking water for each person and pet
- First aid kit
- Over the counter and prescription medication
- Space blankets for warmth and shade
- A change of clothes for each person
- Windup radio and flashlights with extra batteries
- Maps marked with family meeting spots and evacuation routes
- Whistles and signal flares
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Extra ID tags, collars, leashes, and harnesses for your pets
With these items on hand, you can evacuate or shelter in place without worrying about the essentials.
Listen to the Weather Reports
Listen to weather reports daily to learn of storms forming off the coast in your area. When prediction models are announced, take the information seriously and start enacting your disaster plan. As the storm continues to advance, tune into the weather reports more often to remain informed about the expected severity, duration, and path of the storm.
Learn How to Stay Safe in a Flood
When floodwaters start to rise, panic may start to set in as you look to escape to higher ground. To prevent missteps, you should educate yourself and your family on the best ways to avoid getting trapped in rising floodwaters. Storm prediction models can help you determine when to move to higher ground before your area floods. You should also know how to navigate to safe ground as the floodwaters arrive.
Turn Off All Small Appliances
As you prepare to evacuate or shelter in place, you need to have someone in your family turn off all appliances and unplug them from your wall outlets. Assign this job to a responsible person in your household and practice this procedure often to ensure all appliances are addressed before the storm.
Maximize Fridge and Freezer Temperature
Since power losses are common during and after a hurricane, turn up your fridge and freezer to the maximum level to keep your food cold for as long as possible. You should also avoid opening the fridge and freezer doors to effectively seal the cold air inside.
Fill Your Vehicle’s Gas Tank
As initial reports of a storm coming your way hit the airwaves, you should fill up your vehicle’s gas tank to prepare to evacuate. Even better if you can simply keep your vehicle full of gas at all times in case you receive little to no warning of an impending hurricane.
Secure Your Home
To keep your house and property safe from extensive damage, you will need to make quick preparations. Close your storm shutters or nail up plywood sheets over the windows, secure your exterior door locks and place all loose outdoor items inside a sturdy structure, such as a garage or shed.
Prepare Your Pets
Your pets will need to be equipped with a collar affixed with ID tags that share your mobile contact information in case of separation. Your pets should also have a strong harness and leash attached to prevent runaways in the early moments of evacuation. If at all possible, transport your pets in carriers while escaping the storm in your personal vehicle.
Follow Evacuation Orders
Always follow evacuation orders given by officials in your area to avoid the worst hazards of the hurricane. Act fast to beat the rush to evacuate and rising prices of airline tickets and public transportation passes. Resist the urge to ride out the storm at home even if prediction models for prior storms overstated the dangers.
Only Return Home When Deemed Safe by Officials
Once the hurricane dissipates, you may be in a hurry to return home to assess the damage and start your recovery efforts. You should only return home when deemed safe by officials, however, as there may still be hazards that have not been mitigated yet. When you receive the go-ahead to return to your property, pace your travels to keep everyone safe and sound on your way back home.