As of June 1, we have officially entered hurricane season. If you live in a coastal area, are you prepared? Do you know what you would do to protect your home if an evacuation order was issued? What if you decided to ride out the storm at home – do you have a survival plan if the power is out for several days? Here are some tips to help get your home hurricane ready.
The first line of defense is getting ready before hurricane season is here. Start by knowing your area’s hurricane evacuation route, and possibly do a test trip. Take note of where gas stations, restaurants, and motels are located should you need to stop. You may have to drive close more than 50 miles inland to be safe, so bear that in mind. Now is want to start compiling an emergency items and bug out bags for your vehicles. These would contain snacks, water bottles, first aid items, at least one complete change of clothes and shoes for each member of your family, copies of important documents like insurance policies, deeds, and birth certificates (should the originals be lost in the storm), flashlights and batteries, and a full gas can (stored in the garage), in case gas stations are overwhelmed and supplies are low. Have them ready to go so you can leave as quickly as possible when the time comes. Also come up with a plan for getting in contact or where to meet up after the storm if you are to get separated. One article I read suggested having an out of state friend or family member to be the contact for each family member to call in case local lines are down.
Next, you’ll want to get your home prepped to withstand a hurricane. You need to stock up on supplies ahead of the hurricane season rush. You’ll want to purchase plywood to cover all your windows or install hurricane shutters. You can even go ahead and drill screw holes ahead of time so you aren’t trying to do that as you attach them to the windows when the storm is bearing down and you are pressed for time. Ahead of hurricane season you should also prune any trees with dead limbs. Think about what items you’ll have to anchor down or move indoors, like patio furniture, grills, lawn and garden equipment, and know where you will store them. Obviously the more that you plan out ahead of time the less “thinking” you’ll have to do right before the storm and can get to “doing.”
Once a hurricane watch has been issued, it’s time to get proactive. Thankfully, hurricane prediction gives you a little more time to prepare over other storms like tornadoes or flash floods, so you have that on your side. If you see the storm is indeed going to hit your area, and a hurricane warning is put out, don’t wait until the last minute to try and prepare to leave. Board up your windows, secure any outdoor furniture, grab your emergency bags, and go. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to quickly get out of the area and roads will become parking lots with everyone trying to leave the area.
If you decide to ride out the storm at home, you’ll want to take the same precautions and preparedness steps listed above. You’ll also want to have a fully stocked emergency kit for your home (containing many of the items mentioned earlier), and you will need to fill sinks and bathtubs with clean water. You will also need plenty of extra batteries, and possibly a generator, as the power could be off for an extended period of time. Most storm preparedness experts don’t recommend riding out a hurricane at home, but that is a decision only you can make. If you do decide to stay put, do so at your own risk, knowing it may be a roller coaster ride until the storm is over and power is restored.
As with all natural disasters and storms, planning ahead is a great step in the right direction. Hurricanes are serious business, and can do large amounts of damage in a short amount of time. By taking steps ahead of the storm to protect your home, you can be spared some of the damage. What steps does your family take to prepare for hurricane season?