Hurricanes are nothing to take lightly no matter what category they’ve been classed. Things can change in an instant and it’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the forecast. We’re about mid-way through the season, but it’s never too late to think about hurricane preparation.
Are you ready just in case?
Even if you’re a lifelong resident, if you live near the coast, it’s always a good idea to refresh your mind. We’ve put together a checklist of things to do ahead of time.
First things first
Having an evacuation plan in place long before the storm is looming is our number one hurricane preparation tip. Things can get intense in the blink of an eye. Map your escape route. It’s a good idea to drive it as well, but if not, at least check with your local emergency management office for information they provide regarding evacuation routes.
If an evacuation order is placed in your area, please, heed it. It’s not worth risking the consequences of staying.
If possible, leave sooner than later. You’ll, hopefully, miss the pandemonium on the road that accompanies waiting until the last minute. Check on your neighbors and offer to take them with you if they need a ride out of the area. Squeeze in your pets and take essential supplies like water, food, and medications.
It’s always a good idea to gather the necessary supplies that you’ll need to weather the storm. It saves the anxiety of rushing out to the store only to find the shelves bare. You’ll want to have plenty of food, water, and other provisions to sustain your household. The old rule of thumb was to have enough on hand to get you through three days. However, FEMA now recommends you’re ready to rough it for at least ten.
Here’s a good list to follow.
- Water – At least ten gallons per person should allow for drinking and sanitation needs.
- Food – Stock up on non-perishable foods, such as canned goods, canned juices or juice packs, snacks, dried fruits, nuts, cereal, and peanut butter.
- A non-electric can opener
- Pet food, water, and any medications – If they’re used to being in a carrier or crate, have it available. Also, make sure they have on a collar with proper ID tags in case they escape.
- Moist towelettes or wipes, garbage bags, toilet paper, paper plates, and paper towels.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Cell phones, chargers, and a backup battery
- Propane gas
- Flashlights or solar lamps
- Extra batteries
- Hand sanitizer, hygienic products, diapers, and wipes
- First aid kit – Make sure to include antibiotic ointment and plenty of bandages
- Cash in large and small bills – Your debit and credit cards may be rendered useless in the event of extended power outages.
- Important family documents
- Toys and activities for the children – It can distract them from what’s going on outside.
- Clothes, shoes, and boots if you have them
- Comfort items – This is a good idea for you as well as the children.
- Pillows and blankets – If you’re hunkered down in one area of your home, sleeping will be more comfortable.
A safe haven
You should know how to shut off your utilities, especially the gas. Also, if your property is in an area prone to flooding, don’t make your safe spot in the basement. An interior room in your home is best, one with as few windows as possible is also a good idea.
If you have impact windows in place, you’ve greatly reinforced the structural integrity of your home. Hurricane resistant shutters or even plywood are alternatives to consider. When you lose your windows, you increase your chance of sustaining major damage to your home.
Applying construction adhesive in your attic along both sides of the rafters where they meet the outer walls of your home reinforces your roof’s strength by nearly three times. It’s an inexpensive technique that really pays off! Installing hurricane clips or straps on the roof is another good idea. Retrofitting is tricky, though. Contact a professional contractor if you plan to go that route.
Beef up your doors with bracing. You can find kits that will do the trick. Get one for your garage door, too. Statistics show that more than 80% of homes destroyed by hurricanes lost their garage door first. That leaves you at the mercy of the storm in a big way!
Trimming your trees isn’t always considered when hurricane preparation comes to mind. However, it makes them less susceptible to being blown over. Remove any dead limbs because they are sure to come down. Also, if you have fruit trees, you should harvest them before the storm arrives. Each piece becomes a projectile. Making the sacrifice and harvesting early leaves less ammunition for the storm.
Secure satellite dishes, antennas, solar panels, and water systems. While you’re at it tie down small sheds, patio screens, and large planters. Also, remember to bring any lawn furniture inside.
Generators are a blessing in the event of an extended power outage. And, during a hurricane, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be a power outage. For example, Hurricane Irma left nearly 60% of the state of Florida in the dark and it took weeks to get it all restored.
That’s a sobering thought.
The chances of finding a generator at the last minute or immediately following a hurricane are slim to none. Unless, of course, you run upon a scalper who intends to take advantage of someone in a big way. Purchasing one beforehand is a great idea to include in your hurricane preparation plans. Don’t forget to include an ample supply of fuel and heavy-duty extension cords that can handle the wattage.
Never start up your generator inside the home, it emits deadly carbon dioxide. Fire it up outside away from windows, doors, vents, and areas where people gather. Use surge protectors to keep your electronic equipment safe from any power surges.
Hurricanes are a mighty force of nature and living in an area near the coastline, you may find yourself in one’s path someday. However, taking time for hurricane preparation now to ensure the safety of your home and family will provide you with peace of mind both this season and for all those to come.