Tag Archives: hurricane preparedness

  • 5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    During my regular news trolling last week, I came across an AP headline that several of the big outlets had latched onto, titled “5 Things to Know About Hurricane Season.” You can read the same article from ABC News, Yahoo news, or The Washington Times, depending on your preferred association. But no matter how you access it, the upshot seems to be that it’s a year to breathe easy. El Niño’s back, which, the article claims, means warmer weather and both fewer and less intense storms. This is great news, considering hurricane season officially began June 1st, and I would really rather work on my tan than stock up on emergency candles during all this beautiful weather.

    Except maybe not.

    The Weather Channel, acting in its official capacity as the smart kid that nobody likes, has put out its own “5 Things” list, which isn’t, but could be subtitled, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable Yet.” In particular, the article points out how complicated and unpredictable a factor El Niño is (depending on geographical location, the warmer currents of El Niño can either lessen or increase the severity of storms), and reminds us that “below average” storm systems can still be devastating.

    For those of us who live in areas that are at all prone to hurricanes, this is not the time to get casual in our preparations. Fingers crossed that we don’t have a repeat of 2004, but, as the Weather Channel put it, “Perhaps a big anniversary will remind Americans it's possible, and it could happen again.”

    In case you missed the re-post a couple of months ago, our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane” includes a thorough list of downloadable resources and links to our 5-part Hurricane Preparedness mini-series.

     

    What are your best tips for hurricane preparedness?

     

    -Stacey Birk

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, Hurricane, natural disaster

  • Hurricane Season 2013

    Today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center stated that “there is a 70 percent likelihood” that there will be three to six major hurricanes this year with winds above 111 mph. Forecasters suggest that “A year after Superstorm Sandy, residents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should prepare for ‘an extremely active’" 2013 hurricane season.

    With this forecast in mind, Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA acting administrator, stated Thursday, "Take time to refresh your hurricane preparedness plan . . . bottom line is become weather-ready now—that means starting today."

    Since 2013’s Hurricane season begins on June 1st, now is the time to prepare for a Hurricane. Here are some basic items that you should consider collecting to prepare you for the upcoming storm season:

    Hurricane Kit Supplies:

    Emergency Kit

    First Aid Kit

    Food Storage (have enough for several weeks)

    Water Storage Supply

    Radio (include extra batteries)

    Tools

    Rain Ponchos

    Sanitation Supplies

     

    For a more comprehensive list of items to include in your Hurricane Kit, take a look at our Hurricane Checklists for before, during, and after the storm.

    Our 5-part mini-series on Hurricane preparedness also provides additional information on things to consider while preparing for a hurricane.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Is Hurricane Sandy Headed Your Way?

     

    If you’ve been watching the news, you already know that hurricane Sandy is gaining strength and she’s headed toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US coastal areas.
    If you live in an area that may be impacted by Sandy—anywhere from Virginia to Boston— check your emergency kits and fill your car with gas so you can be prepared to evacuate if the time comes that you’re asked by the authorities to do so. And stock up on supplies that will keep you warm, fed, and hydrated if you have to evacuate or shelter in place without utilities for a while.
    Some supplies we suggest having on hand:

    More steps you can take right now while everyone waits to see what Sandy will do:

    • Fill your tank. Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full so you can evacuate quickly if needed—lines at the gas station will be long, and stations can quickly run out of gas if deliveries are interrupted.
    • Evacuation location. Reach out to anyone who has agreed to host you in case of an evacuation to see if they are still on board.
    • If you don’t have a host already in place, reach out to family and friends out of the hurricane area to see if they would be willing to let you stay with them if you’re required to evacuate
    • Stock up on water and food storage if you don’t already have them.
    • Prepare for disrupted utilities. Get alternate sources of light, warmth, and communication in case utilities are cut off.
    • Extra clothes. Put some extra changes of clothes in your kit so you’ll have warm, dry clothing options if you have to go out in the storm.
    • Coordinate. Talk to your family members, roommates, or neighbors about your evacuation and sheltering-in-place plans—coordinate any neighborhood efforts that may have already been established to be sure everyone is still on the same page. 
    There are several resources available to track the path Sandy is following—and your local authorities will certainly be keeping you up to date if you live in Sandy’s potential path.
    [Click here] to check the predicted path hurricane Sandy will follow. (weather.com)
    You can also [click here] to see a Google map of Sandy’s path and locations of active shelters in your region.
    Are you in an area that could be affected? What are you doing to prepare? We’re praying and crossing our fingers that Sandy heads back out to sea, but do everything you can to get ready—it will give you more confidence should a crisis occur.
    For more information on Hurricane Preparedness, check out the mini-series we published earlier this year:
    Part One  --  Part Two  --  Part Three  --  Part Four  --  Part Five
    --Sarah

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Hurricane Preparedness Mini-Series - Part Five: After The Storm

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    Summer hurricane season is here, and as long as a storm isn’t right on your doorstep, there’s still time to prepare. These five installments about hurricane preparedness will remind you of ways to stay safe and secure before, during, and after one of these destructive storms.

    Part Five: After the Storm

    Once a hurricane has fully passed, you may be surprised at how quickly the sun comes out, causing steam to rise from the soaked and flooded land.

    If you have evacuated, do not attempt to go home until the authorities have said that it’s safe to do so. You may be met with washed-out bridges and roads, flooded areas, and a home that is unsafe. If you know or suspect that your neighborhood was severely affected, check with local authorities or the Red Cross to find out when you should go home. Once you’re there, observe the same precautions as those who stayed home (outlined below).

    If you successfully rode out the storm at home, be cautious when venturing outside. Continue to listen to your radio and don’t go out if local authorities advise against it.

    Check your home for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear it hissing as it escapes, turn it off at the main valve if you didn’t do so before the storm. Report it to the gas company immediately—or to any authorities you can reach—and keep your family outside and away from the house until it is declared safe. Do not light any flames or start a car anywhere near the house. Gas mains require a professional to turn gas service back on; DO NOT attempt to do this yourself!

    If you suspect sewer mains have been damaged, try to call a plumber or your city utilities number. If you see sparks or broken wires in your home, turn off your electricity at the main panel, even if your power is still out. Don’t drink, wash, or cook with tap water until you hear from authorities that it is safe to do so.

    Other potential dangers include downed power lines that can cause electrocution if you step into water where live wires are submerged. Do not step or drive over downed wires or otherwise go near them. Report them to local authorities, especially if you live in an out-of-the-way area where they might not have been discovered yet. Don’t attempt to drive anywhere until the roads are cleared of trees and debris, and you know they are not washed out, flooded, or so muddy that you would get stuck. Many roads and bridges may be damaged and unsafe. Give the authorities a chance to get around and evaluate the situation. Be patient with all local authorities and emergency services, as they will be overwhelmed.

    Watch for displaced wildlife. The storm will have disturbed the habitat of snakes, alligators, and other reptiles as well as woodland mammals such as deer, bears, wild hogs, skunks, rabbits, raccoons, and possums, sending them fleeing into neighborhoods they would normally avoid. Most will be nervous and agitated. For that matter, so will domesticated animals and pets that have been out in the weather. Even dogs and cats that are normally friendly may be terrified and hostile after such an experience. Be wary of contact with them, even if you long to comfort and feed them. Don’t allow your kids to splash around in ponds and puddles or flooded areas, as you don’t know what reptiles may have taken refuge in them—or what sharp pieces of debris may be submerged. If you have a swimming pool or pond on your property, check that for unwelcome visitors, too! Be watchful of your own pets if they are with you, so that they don’t tangle with the wildlife.

    When it’s safe to do so, check on any neighbors who also stayed home, and give or call for aid if necessary.

    Evaluate and report any damage to your home or property to your insurance company. Take “after” pictures. (Don’t forget your roof, where shingles may be missing.)

    As soon as you have phone service and immediate emergency concerns have been met, let your relatives and out-of-town contact know that you are alive and (hopefully) well and safe. They’ll be concerned.

    Take down your shutters or boards, open your windows and doors, and let your house air out to prevent mold and mildew from growing. If water invaded your house, do your best to remove it as soon as possible. If upholstered furniture or mattresses got soaked, pull them out into the yard or driveway to dry. They may or may not be salvageable.

    It may take a while before everything returns to normal in your area, so be prepared for the long haul. If you have food storage of freeze-dried, dehydrated, ready-to-eat, or canned foods, you may need to depend on them for the duration. It’s handy to have a charcoal or gas grill, a couple of flat-fold stoves with cans of fuel, or a similar alternative cooking method to heat up or rehydrate foods. If you can boil water and have a thermos, you can cook pasta, oatmeal, or wheat cereal by letting it soak in the hot water till done. Be sparing in the use of the water you stored in your tubs and containers before the storm, just in case it’s a while before your service is restored.

    Just because a storm has passed doesn’t mean all danger is over—remember these tips, and be careful as you return home or venture outside to assess damage, make repairs, check on neighbors, and help rebuild your community.

     

    See more articles in this series:

    Part One: Advance Planning and Preparation

    Part Two: Prepare Your Home, Pets, and Property

    Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Hurricane Preparedness Mini-Series - Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    Summer hurricane season is here, and as long as a storm isn’t right on your doorstep, there’s still time to prepare. These five installments about hurricane preparedness will remind you of ways to stay safe and secure before, during, and after one of these destructive storms.

    Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    A hurricane warning means the storm is definitely heading in your general direction, and it’s time to decide whether or not you are going to evacuate. In making this decision, remember that a hurricane is not a spectator sport! While it may be pretty exciting to experience such a force of nature, the excitement could quickly turn to fear and panic if high winds, storm surge, and flooding destroy your home or make it impossible to live in.

    This is not a time for foolish bravado and hosting a hurricane party, especially if the hurricane is severe. Cat 5 is the strongest category of hurricane, but even smaller, weaker storms can cause wind damage, serious flooding, and loss of power and other utilities. These effects can possibly impact you and your home for extended periods.

    Any hurricane can also spawn tornadoes. I once saw twin water spouts (funnel clouds that form over the water) come ashore on a Florida beach and cause damage. The storm surge is the “wall” of water that the storm brings with it from the ocean or gulf, and is especially dangerous if it coincides with high tides. A friend showed me a photograph of a chain link fence dotted with the bodies of dead fish that got caught in the links during a powerful storm surge in Texas, all facing forward, their mouths gaping open. Wind and water are powerful forces. Respect them.

    Evacuating
    Some factors that mean evacuation is the best course include the following:

    • Your area is told or advised to evacuate by the local authorities
    • You live close to water (including a river, stream, canal, or inland waterway) or in a low-lying area that could easily flood
    • You live in a mobile home, an RV, a high-rise building, a beach cabin, or in an older home that might have become less sturdy over the years
    • You have a family member who might suffer from a power loss because of needed electric medical equipment—C-pap machines, oxygen, etc.
    • You live on an island or any area reached by a bridge that might wash out during the storm
    • Your gut instinct says “GO!”

    If you choose to evacuate, don’t hesitate, as traffic will only become increasingly heavy as the storm approaches. Put up the final boards or shutters on remaining windows, turn your refrigerator down to its coldest setting, turn off and unplug other major appliances and desk computers to protect them from electrical surges as the power comes and goes, and fill the bathtub, sinks, pans and pitchers with water to use for washing, flushing, and cooking when you come back in case your usual water source is cut off or contaminated. Your car should be loaded and ready—grab your loved ones and go.

    Sheltering at Home
    If you decide to remain at home and ride out the storm, fill bathtubs and sinks with water for bathing or cleaning, pans and pitchers with water for cooking, and have plenty of bottled water on hand for drinking.

    Open your fridge as little as possible, and turn it to a colder setting than you normally keep it, though not cold enough to freeze everything. If the power goes out—make that whenthe power goes out—you’ll want your food to stay cold as long as possible. If you’re preparing a meal, decide ahead of time what you need from the fridge and quickly take it all out at once rather than opening and closing it several times.

    If you have a freezer, fill empty spaces in there with containers of water so the entire freezer is filled with frozen items. Doing so will keep the temperatures down longer, and will prevent excess pockets of cold air that can be “lost” every time the freezer door is opened. Freeze containers of water or freezer-paks ahead of time; when the power fails, pop them into a cooler and use that to cool drinks and perishables as long as possible. Try to use up your perishable foods before you turn to the emergency foods that you would have taken with you if you had evacuated.

    Once the power is off, turn off and unplug all your appliances (even refrigerators and freezers) to avoid power surges. Be prepared with games, cards, books, puzzles and toys that do not require electricity to keep children—and adults, for that matter—entertained for quite a while.

    Be very careful with candles, either utility or 100-hour types, or with hurricane lamps, gas lanterns, flat fold stoves, or anything that has a flame. Keep them out of the reach of small children. NEVER bring a generator inside your house! The same goes for gas camp stoves or charcoal grills. They all emit gases or fumes that can be deadly. Alternatively, you could use a camp stove for short durations if you have adequate ventilation available. Think now about how you would survive without power during a hurricane, and plan ahead to have the needed equipment that can be run safely inside without access to utilities.

    Stay inside during the storm. It may be tempting to go outside and see what’s blowing around and making all that noise, but don’t give in—there’s no point in putting yourself in further danger to satisfy your curiosity! Even if the calm eye passes over you and the sun shines for a bit, remember the storm is only half-over and the winds will soon hit from the other direction.

    During the worst of the storm, shelter in an inner hallway—away from windows, doors, and skylights. Keep your flashlight and NOAA radio with you, bring pillows and bedding to curl up on, and snacks and water to sustain you. You will probably be uncomfortably warm, but with strong winds and blowing rain, open windows or doors aren’t the best solution for cooling down. If you absolutely must have some ventilation, crack open a window on the leeward side of the house. If you have a battery-powered fan, this would be the perfect time to use it. (Bring along a sack with extra batteries for any equipment you may be using.) Play games like “Twenty Questions” that don’t require light or equipment, tell stories, sing songs, and try to stay calm and soothe the fears of children.

    If water comes into your house, go to the highest level you have. Another precaution for this possibility: pile your most precious photo albums and other important items on a high (stable) shelf, bunk bed, or table. You might want to pile furniture up in the middle of the living room. If you have nice throw rugs, roll them up and put them on top of your stack. In a worst-case flooding scenario, if there is an accessible attic in your house you may need to go there—and you should have placed an axe and saw there ahead of time just in case you need to create an escape hatch (a fairly rare situation, but remember Katrina). In any storm situation, always err on the side of caution!

    Whether you stay home or evacuate during a hurricane, you’ll need to have specific plans and equipment available. Take the time now to create a plan, prepare your family, and gather the supplies you’ll need. You’ll be so glad you did if the time comes that you have to use them.

     

    See other articles in this mini series:

    Part One: Advance Planning and Preparation

    Part Two: Prepare Your Home, Pets, and Property

    Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    Part Five: After the Storm 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Hurricane Preparedness Mini-Series - Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    Summer hurricane season is here, and as long as a storm isn’t right on your doorstep, there’s still time to prepare. These five installments about hurricane preparedness will remind you of ways to stay safe and secure before, during, and after one of these destructive storms.

    Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    When a hurricane is out there swirling around and looking as if it might head in your direction, it’s time to get serious about your personal safety and that of your family, your pets, and your neighbors.

    Hurricanes are often unpredictable; they can stall, turn, and take unexpected tracks. This is why there are always multiple possible models for their progress shown on TV. Listen to the NOAA weather radio band to track the storm and get any instructions that are issued from the authorities for your area.

    Top off your gas tank and pack emergency kits and other supplies into your car. Keep it parked facing outward for easy merging into traffic, especially if you live on a busy street. If you have a boat, secure it the best you can or bring it ashore into a covered facility if possible.

    Be sure your cell phone is charged and that your car phone charger is in your vehicle. It's also a good idea to have alternative ways to charge your phone, like the Goal Zero Nomad 7m Solar Panel. Program important numbers into your phone, but don’t forget to take a separate list on a card or paper in case your phone is lost or service fails.

    Put away flower pots, lawn furniture, and anything else that might sail around in a strong wind—which is pretty much anything that isn’t bolted down! Board up your windows, leaving just one or two open for now for ventilation if you must.

    Gather your family around. Keep them close by in case you need to evacuate. Review your evacuation plans and revise if necessary. Check with those friends or relatives you’re depending upon for shelter to let them know you might be coming.

    Double-check on arrangements for your pets, and keep them on leashes or fenced into your yard—you don’t want to be hunting for them if you have to exacuate! If you absolutely must leave pets at home (not advised), tape a notice on the outside of a front door or the inside of a window letting emergency personnel know they are there: “2 DOGS INSIDE.” If your front door has a window, tape the notice on the inside so it doesn't blow away. Leave your bathroom door firmly propped open and the toilet lid up so they can drink if their water bowls go dry. Make sure they have plenty of food available, and for dogs, their favorite kind of chew toys for a little comfort. Realize that you will probably come home to quite a mess—and some very anxious pets.

    Post a paper on your fridge, the inside of your front door, or another prominent place giving the address and phone number where you can be reached. Give your relatives and friends the same information.

    Check with your neighbors to see if anyone needs help boarding up windows, getting last-minute supplies, putting away lawn furniture, etc. Be especially watchful for older folks or the disabled.

    There are a lot of things to think about when preparing yourself, your home, and your family for a hurricane. This article is a good starting point but certainly not comprehensive. Make a list specific to your home and family so you can have an organized way to prepare when a hurricane watch is announced for your area. Making these preparations can help you feel more secure in uncertain situations.

    See More Articles in This series:

    Part One: Advance Planning and Preparation

    Part Two: Prepare Your Home, Pets, and Property

    Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    Part Five: After the Storm 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Hurricane Preparedness Mini-Series - Part Two

    Summer hurricane season is here, and as long as a storm isn’t right on your doorstep, there’s still time to prepare. These five installments about hurricane preparedness will remind you of ways to stay safe and secure before, during, and after one of these destructive storms.

    Part Two: Prepare Your Home, Pets, and Property

    Yesterday we talked about creating a plan for your family and preparing the supplies you would need in case of a hurricane. Today let’s chat about how to prepare your home, your pets, and your property for a hurricane.

    Your Home
    Think ahead! Obtain flood insurance well before a possible need; most policies have a time clause before they go into effect. Learn what all your options are before choosing a coverage plan that works for you and your property.

    Inspect your yard for anything loose that might fly around and cause damage during the high winds of a hurricane. Even a small item, hurled by extremely high winds, can become a dangerous projectile. Put tools, lawn furniture, and ornaments securely away inside a sturdy shed, garage, or in your house (piling them in your carport doesn’t count). Make your fence as strong and secure as you can. Trim trees, bushes, and dry palm fronds; dispose of the cuttings well before a storm approaches.

    Your Pets
    Plan for the needs of your pets. Find out which designated shelters can and cannot accept pets (most cannot because of insurance liabilities). A few might accept them if they are leashed or contained. If you’re planning to stay with friends or family, check with them ahead of time to find out if Fido and Fluffy are welcome; don’t assume. “Love me, love my dog” might be your attitude, but not everyone is happy to invite your furry friends into their home. Small children may be afraid of your pet, or your hosts may have allergies or other concerns. Investigate which animal shelters might be able to take them if you must evacuate, or make plans for your pet to live comfortably and safely outside while staying with friends or relatives. Have your pets’ immunizations up to date (required by shelters), and be ready to provide copies of their medical records if asked. Have their dishes, leashes, food, meds, litter, pooper-scooper, and familiar toys ready to go if you must evacuate. Include plenty of water for them with your supply.

    Some pet owners turn their dogs and cats loose to fend for themselves when a storm threatens, or leave them locked in the house with food and water and hope for the best. Neither is a good choice if you can possibly do otherwise. Your furry or feathered friends are not wild animals. They’re dependent upon you for food, water, shelter and comfort, and can easily panic and either destroy your property (my friend’s dog ate the entire end off of their couch when left alone during a thunderstorm), run away, be injured or killed, or bite someone. Even if you are able to find your pet when you return (which is often impossible), you may not recognize its personality because of the trauma of abandonment, neglect, possible injuries, and fear of the storm it has experienced. Do your best for your pets by finding a responsible pet-sitter for them, arranging for a shelter to take them, or by taking them with you (which would probably be their first choice).

    Another note from personal experience: If you are traveling with a cat, use a carrier; cats are much more secure and easy to control if they have their own little cubbyhole to hide in. (They may still yowl in protest, but it’s better than the alternative.)

    Your Property
    Take “before” pictures of both the inside of your home and the outside for insurance purposes, to show the normal state of things. If there is damage when you return, take “after” pictures from the same vantage points for easy comparison. Also take pictures (even video) of valuable items you would want replaced. Make a list of your belongings to go with the pictures and video in case of loss or looting.

    Make copies of your most important papers, licenses, cards, certificates, policies, etc. to take with you if you must leave. Also include a list of important phone numbers and addresses, in case something happens to your cell phone. You may want to include a family picture and a flash drive or external hard drive containing any computer data you would be devastated to lose. You may also want to think about using an online third-party storage service for digital files you can upload from home so there is always a copy available if your own hard drive or other storage devices are ruined. If you are hesitant to upload information or photos onto a site like this, consider asking a friend or relative out of town to store an external hard drive for you—the trick with this is keeping it updated if you live very far away. Wrap all these items in plastic for safekeeping. Have a supply of cash in small bills available; in the likely case of a power outage, credit cards, debit cards, and checks will not work.

    Make sure your car is in good operating condition. Get any needed repairs done in a timely way so that if you need to evacuate you won’t have to stop and get a new tire or water hose.

    If you haven’t already done so, pack an emergency bag (bug-out bag) for each family member and have it ready to grab. Include:

    Depending on the person’s age and ability, they may not be able to carry their own food and water. Though a well-fitting backpack is the best carrier for most people, those who can carry less weight may benefit from a backpack that can also roll if needed. Still others may prefer duffel bags; find the best fit for your supplies and comfort. Include a card in each bag that has the person’s name, address, your out-of-town contact’s phone number, and your own phone number on it. You may want to bring a lightweight sleeping bag for each person, and familiar pillows are comforting if there’s room for them.

    Obtain storm shutters or plywood pieces to fit your windows and have them cut and ready to install with appropriate fasteners (screws and nails). Be familiar with the installation process (or have an easy-to follow diagram or instruction sheet) so you aren’t scrambling with unfamiliar items when a storm is approaching.

    The better prepared you are, the less fear and distress you’ll experience. Even if things get scary when the wind blows, you’ll know you’ve done your best.

     

    More Posts in This Series:

    Part One: Advance Planning and Preparation

    Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    Part Five: After the Storm 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes

  • Hurricane Preparedness Mini-Series - Part One

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Summer hurricane season is here, and as long as a storm isn’t right on your doorstep, there’s still time to prepare. These five installments about hurricane preparedness will remind you of ways to stay safe and secure before, during, and after one of these destructive storms.

    Part One: Advance Planning and Preparation

    Evacuation
    As early as possible, plan potential evacuation routes and destinations in case you must leave home. Find out about your area’s preferred evacuation routes, but also scope out some back-road shortcuts that might help you blend into the stream of traffic more quickly. (Realize that during evacuations, most local freeway lanes may be dedicated to one-way, out-bound traffic.)

    Have an idea (or two) of potential destinations. Find out where designated shelters are planned—schools, churches, etc.—and also obtain the phone numbers and locations of hotels and motels along the way, but recognize that they will fill up fast and may not be able to honor reservations.

    Are you lucky enough to have hospitable family or friends far enough inland to be out of danger’s way? Shamelessly beg to stay with them for the duration of the storm. Once they make landfall most Atlantic hurricanes begin to tend toward the north and eventually back toward the east. If you can head west and south you should be in relatively safe territory, although the rain bands can extend outward for many miles. The strongest and most dangerous part of the storm is to the north and east of the calm eye as it comes ashore.

    Utilities and Weather Tracking
    Teach responsible family members how to turn off utilities and tune into NOAA Weather Radio for up-to-the-minute storm tracking and instructions. You do have a battery-powered radio that receives the NOAA band, don’t you? If not, get one! The NOAA broadcasts are found in the VHF public service bands at seven frequencies between 162.4 and 162.550.

    Emergency Supplies

    • If you haven’t already done so, obtain the following items:
    • Plenty of bottled water
    • Flashlights, lanterns, 100-hour candles
    • Extra batteries
    • Car phone chargers
    • A first-aid kit
    • Emergency food items that can be used at home or easily taken with you
    • Essential medications
    • Baby items if needed
    • Pet items if needed

    From my own experience: DO NOT wait until a storm is announced to shop for these things, as store shelves will empty unbelievably fast; all that may be left to buy are pickled onions and hair-coloring! Stores usually have only about three days’ worth of supplies at the best of times, and when a hurricane threatens is definitely not the best of times.

    • Appropriate food items to store include:
    • Food bars (granola or high-calorie, high-nutrition food bars)
    • Canned meat, beans, cheese spread, and fruit
    • Well-packaged crackers
    • A selection of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) such as those used by the military
    • Freeze-dried or dehydrated fruits
    • Small packages of gelatin, juice, or pudding that do not require refrigeration
    • Individual servings of cold cereal and powdered milk with enough water to reconstitute it

    Minimize the use of alcohol, soft drinks, and extremely salty items, since they make you thirstier and you’ll go through your water storage faster. Instead, encourage the family to drink water and juice.>

    Communications
    Decide ahead of time on a family communication plan—designate a place to meet if you get separated, and choose someone to be your contact person for everyone to call to report in. An out-of-town contact is best to act as a sort of clearing-house for your calls, for two reasons: they won’t be as impacted by the storm as you are, and if phone lines and cell service is overloaded or fails, long-distance lines are restored more quickly than local ones. Be sure all family members have the phone number of that person—memorized as well as written down.
    Teach family members who are old enough to call 911 if needed. Discuss some situations when they might need to call 911 (if someone is severely injured or unconscious, for example).

    If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, taking these steps can help create some sense of order amid the chaos if a storm ever hit your home or community. Preparing an evacuation, communication, and weather tracking plan now will give your family the mental preparedness they need, and gathering food and other emergency supplies will provide for their physical needs in a time of crisis.

     

    More Posts in this Mini-Series:

    Part Two: Prepare Your Home, Pets, and Property

    Part Three: Under a Hurricane Watch

    Part Four: Under a Hurricane Warning

    Part Five: After the Storm 

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, hurricanes