With the hurricane season reaching its peak, it’s the perfect time to have a conversation about disaster preparedness. If you live in a coastal area, you need to take hurricanes seriously and be prepared to care for your family and your home if a big storm hits in your region. Here are a few beginning steps you can take now to be sure your loved ones are well cared for in the event that a hurricane hits your neighborhood.
Stock Up on Basic Supplies
Having a good stock of food and water is always going to be important. However hurricane victims have learned the hard way that having these items could be the difference between life or death. Most hurricanes that make landfall are category 1 or 2. While these storms are not the strongest they have enough power and precipitation that they can knock out power for weeks and they can cause major flooding. Remember the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? People were facing weeks or even months without access to food or clean water.
You need to make sure that you have enough food and water to last your family for a minimum of 7 days. In most cases a week is all you will need because the lights are typically brought back in that amount of time. However it is never a bad idea to prepare for longer periods of blackout.
Keep in mind that the most damaging aspect of most hurricanes is not the wind but the rain and the storm surge. Water is a super strong force that is not prejudiced. It will attack any and everyone. If your neighborhood or home is cut off from local resources due to flooding then you could face a longer recovery time. This is why you need to make sure you have enough food and water to last for a minimum of one week.
Fortify Your Shelter
If you have made the decision to ride out a hurricane then you are going to need to make sure your home is fully prepared to survive the storm. We are not going to be like all the other emergency people and tell you that you simply have to leave when the storm is on its way. It is your home and you have the option of riding it out if you want to. Just know that it could be much rougher than you thought.
Most houses around the coast are placed on pilings. Because of this you typically do not have to fear the flooding coming into your home. However other homes are not this high off the ground. If you have the option to be above the ground level you need to take it. It is always better to be higher than lower. Make sure you have your food and water above the ground level as well as this could lead to contamination and loss of supplies if the floodwater enters your home.
You are also going to need to make some changes to your home. Many homes around the coast have hurricane shutters that can withstand impacts of up to 175 mph. If you have a built in storm shelter, that is great. If you do not then you are going to need to cover your windows with plywood. You need to use ½ plywood simply because it is much stronger. Make sure you are securing the plywood with enough nails as well.
Have An Escape Plan
One of the biggest issues that Hurricane Katrina brought to the surface was that most people have no plan B. Climbing into your attic is not good enough. Busting holes through the roof and climbing to the roof is only going to leave you stranded and exposed. This is the act of a desperate person. Plan ahead. If you think there is a chance the water levels could rise this high then you need to be smart and get out before it’s too late.
Regardless of what you decide to do you need to have a plan B. Have an escape plan in place and make sure everyone in your family knows where to meet up in the event of an emergency. If it’s at all possible, leave before the storm gets bad or you could end up stranded with no other choice but to ride things out at home.
The most important thing you can do is plan ahead. Make sure you have your basics covered. Make sure you have plenty of water. Make sure you have blankets and first aid supplies. At the end of the day, common sense will guide you.
Do you have a hurricane emergency action plan? What steps are you taking to be prepared?