In this article we offer expert tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do when one hits and how you should deal with the aftermath.
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Hurricanes are one of the most deadly and dangerous natural disasters on the planet - and one of the most costly. If you’re not prepared, they can do huge damage to your home, family, life and finances.
Hurricanes are often accompanied by extreme cases of rain, hail and thunderstorms along with other huge natural phenomena, such as tidal surges and tornadoes.
The result of all this weather can make hurricane’s effects and their aftermath last even longer. Hurricane preparedness, along with a list of what you need, is therefore essential.
It’s important to know what to do before, during and after a hurricane strikes. In this article we offer expert tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do when one hits and how you should deal with the aftermath.
Preparing for a hurricane ensures that you and your family are fully equipped if one does indeed occur.
If you live in an area which might be affected by hurricanes, you need to make sure you have all the kit and equipment you need well before disaster strikes.
If you wait until one is imminently expected, you’ve already left it too late.
Here’s a hurricane supply list of all the things you need. If you don’t already have these things prepared, and you live in a high-risk hurricane area, you should get them all as soon as possible:
Water and food: ensure you have 1 gallon of water per person per day for two weeks, along with enough food for a week. Because a lot of this food will be in the form of non-perishable canned goods, it’s essential you also have a manual can opener.
Cash: enough to last you a week or more.
Health supplies: have a good first-aid kit along with all essential medications, both generic medication and meds specific to the people in your family. You should also have lots of bathing and sanitation supplies. Hygiene and sanitation in the aftermath of a disaster can actually kill more people than the disaster itself. It’s therefore essential to make sure you have enough supplies to keep clean and hygienic.
Communication and light: make sure you have (and know how to use) a wind-up clock, a battery-operated flashlight and a battery-operated radio. Ensure you know the frequency of your local weather radio station to stay aware of updates. These updates can save your life.
Clothes, pillows and blankets: these will keep you warm. Ensure you keep them in a waterproof container - they’re no use if wet.
Entertainment: cards, board games and drawing pads can help to pass the time, especially if you have kids.
Evacuation plan: ensure you and those you live with all know the evacuation plan. Make sure you’ve practiced it several times.
Tarps: for covering any roof holes that the storm leaves behind.
Insect repellent: pools of lying water attract mosquitoes. Protect yourself from them with repellent.
Childcare and pet care items: you should have enough to last a week.
Whistles and flares: to signal for attention, should you need it.
Tools to secure your home: you need a drill with a screwdriver bit, roof and window repair tools, hurricane straps (or clips), rope, a shovel, leather gloves and head and foot bolts for your doors.
Hurricane shutters and storm panels: you should get these fitted as soon as possible. They can be very effective in limiting the damage to your home.
Waterproof containers: for storing matches and important documents. These documents should include your insurance policy. Make sure this policy covers you in the event of hurricanes.
Solar power: this can generate power when you have no other way of getting it. Alternatively, a small generator, along with extra fuel, can be lifesaver if your power lines go down. You should also have a couple of small propane gas tanks, for cooking food when there’s no other way of doing so.
Dust masks: after a hurricane, the air can be full of pollutants and contamination, which can cause both short-term and long-term health effects. Dusk masks can filter this contaminated air.
With all of the above, you’re well prepared with all the gear and gadgets you need.
Check out the video below to learn more about Hurricane Categories and the damage they can inflict.
What to do during a hurricane?
If directed to do so, you should evacuate your home.
If not, you should stay inside your abode. If that’s the case, and you are indeed trapped in your own home, here’s what you and your family should do during a hurricane:
Use your portable radio to listen to important storm updates. Listen to these reports very closely for instructions. The situation can change at any moment, which can alter the implications for you and your family.
Stay inside. And keep inside until you’ve received confirmation that the storm is officially over. Sometimes storms come with deceptive lulls. Leaving your home during one of these lulls can be fatal.
Get in your basement. It’s the safest place to be. If that’s not an option, stay in the most central part of your home, under a heavy piece of furniture.
Keep away from all windows, glass doors and skylights. If these break, they can be very dangerous. The same applies for glass furniture.
If you lose power, keep your refrigerator closed. This will keep the temperature of the refrigerator low for a while, and stop food from perishing quickly. If you lose power for a long period of time, and the food perishes, you should remove it from the refrigerator to prevent damage to the appliance.
If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions very closely. Not doing so can result in severe harm.
If you would like to know more about home protection in case of disasters, have a look over our guide about survival shelters for the home.
Stay Prepared For Any Emergency!
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Some important side notes here:
If you live in a mobile home, do not stay there. Mobile homes and trailers cannot provide any protection against the devastation of hurricanes. The same applies if you live on a boat.
If you’re stranded in a high rise building, you should get as low to the ground floor as possible. If some floors are flooded, go to the lowest floor above the flood level.
You should stay near the center of the building, away from windows and balconies, as this is the most secure place.
Natural disasters are only as harmful as the lack of preparation that precedes them!
What if you're ordered to evacuate before a hurricane?
In that case, you have different responsibilities. Here’s what you should do if you need to evacuate because of a hurricane:
Take insurance documents with you, along with all essential medications and any other important family belongings.
Clear your kitchen of any trash and perishable food. That includes foods from your cupboards and refrigerator.
Unplug any and all electronics and ensure you don’t leave them in contact with the floor.
If instructed to do so by the relevant authorities, turn off your water, electricity and gas.
Board up your windows and brace your doors. These measures can hugely limit the damage which your home experiences.
Have a plan for your pets!
Wherever you’re evacuating to, ensure that your pets are allowed to go there. You should also make sure you have a food bowl, a water bowl, trash bags and food, along with your pet’s identification.
What to do when the hurricane is over?
You should never assume for yourself that the hurricane is over.
Wait until you’ve had official confirmation from the relevant authorities.
Once you have, here’s what to do after a hurricane:
Avoid downed power lines - and avoid any water in contact with these lines.
Immediately arrange for temporary repairs. Pay particular attention to boarding up broken windows. Without attending to these necessary repairs, you risk a lot of further damage.
Check for any gas leaks. If you find any suspected gas leaks, go to the home of a friend or family member until your utility company deems your house safe.
Look out for damages which could cause danger. This includes damaged tree limbs, broken objects and pools of water.
Don’t make any permanent repairs until your property has been reviewed by your insurance provider. As for temporary repairs you make in the meantime, keep accurate records of what you’ve spent, along with your bills and receipts.
Create a list of any and all damaged goods, with a detailed description of each. This is essential for insurance claims.
If you think your home seems unsafe upon returning there, contact your insurance provider about the possibility of temporary accommodation.
Hurricane Survival Conclusions
Congratulations - now you know how to stay safe in a hurricane!
In many cases, natural disasters are only as harmful as the lack of preparation that precedes them.
If you and your family follow the guidelines above, you should be able to ensure that you are affected as little as possible.
With our hurricane hacks and plenty of good preparation, you’ll ensure that this particular natural disaster isn’t so disastrous!