A hurricane can be a catastrophic event. It is important to be prepared in advance so that you and your family can stay safe. This comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need for a hurricane preparedness checklist. In it, we will discuss being prepared medically, preparing your house and landscape, food prep, preparing to have no power, and miscellaneous items. Follow these steps, and you will be ready for anything!
The hurricane season runs from June to November but peaks in August and September. It is important to be aware of the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm. A hurricane is a more severe storm, with winds speeds of 74 mph or greater. A tropical storm has winds speeds of 39-73 mph.
Key Terms to Know
Hurricane watch: A hurricane is possible in the next 48 hours.
Hurricane warning: A hurricane is imminent and will affect a particular area within 24 hours.
National Weather Service (NWS): The government agency responsible for hurricane forecasting, tropical cyclone developments, and severe weather alerts.
Paying attention to the NWS will keep you the most informed about am approaching hurricane’s path and progression. It is better to get all your emergency supplies early to avoid the rush at grocery stores and home improvement stores.
Being Prepared Medically
If a hurricane is headed your way, it is crucial to make sure you and your family are prepared with critical medical supplies. Some things to consider include:
- Medications: make sure you have enough of any prescription medications you or your family take.
- First aid kit: stock it with supplies like bandages, gauze, and antiseptic.
It is important to have a plan for hygiene preparedness in the event of a hurricane. Some things to consider include:
- Sanitation supplies: stock up on things like toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfectants.
- Personal hygiene items: make sure you have enough soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other items.
Preparing Your House and Landscape
A hurricane can cause a great deal of damage to your home and property. It is important to take precautions in advance. Some things to consider include:
- Insurance: make sure you have hurricane insurance and that your policy is up to date.
- Landscaping: trim trees and shrubs, secure any loose objects in your yard, and fill any low areas in your yard with sand or dirt.
- Windows and doors: hurricane shutters are the best way to protect your windows and doors from damage. If you do not have hurricane shutters, make sure to board them up.
- Roof: make sure your roof is in good condition and that the gutters are cleared of debris. You can securely fasten the roof with straps or clips.
- Protective materials: stockpile plywood, plastic sheeting, and tape to seal windows and doors.
- Sump pump: if you have a basement, make sure you have a working sump pump with a backup battery.
- Sewers: make sure there are check valves to prevent flooding.
One of the most important things to do in hurricane preparedness is food prep. Some things to consider include:
- Non-perishable food: stock up on things like canned food, dried fruit, and nuts.
- Water: make sure you have enough water to last at least three days.
- Ice: fill your freezer with ice so that you can keep food cold if the power goes out and know how long certain foods are edible outside of a refrigerator.
Preparing For Not Having Power
A hurricane can cause widespread power outages. It is important to be prepared in advance. Some things to consider include:
- Candles: have plenty of candles and matches/lighters on hand.
- Flashlights: stock up on batteries and have a few flashlights on hand.
- Generator: if you have one, make sure it is in good working order and has enough fuel.
- Food: make sure you have enough non-perishable food to last for at least a few days.
- Extra water: make sure you have water for flushing your toilet.
- Cash: in the event of a power outage, ATMs and credit card machines will not be working. It is wise to have cash on hand.
- Phone charger: keep your phone charged so that you can stay in touch with loved ones.
- Radios: have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio on hand so you can stay up to date on the latest hurricane information. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios are the best bet for this.
- Fans: don’t run fans unless necessary as they don’t cool the air, they just circulate it.
- Shading windows: if you have to keep the windows open, use curtains or shades to block out the sun and help keep the house cooler.
There are a few other things to consider when preparing for a hurricane. Some of these items include:
- Cars: fill up your gas tank and have a plan for where you will go if you need to evacuate.
- Baby supplies: if you have a baby, make sure you have enough diapers, formula, and other supplies.
- Pet supplies: if you have pets, make sure you have enough food and water for them, as well as a place to stay if you have to evacuate. You can contact your local emergency management agency for a list of pet-friendly shelters.
- Essential documents: make copies of important documents like your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate.
- Tools: have a few essential tools on hand like a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench.
- Clothes: Make sure to have a few changes of clothes, including sturdy shoes and rain gear.
- Batteries: stock up on extra batteries of all sizes.
- Blankets: If you have to stay in a cold place for a while, blankets can help keep you warm.
Just In Case
Even if you have prepared as best you can, you may find the need to evacuate. Some things to consider include:
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately, do not wait until the last minute. Make sure your family has an evacuation plan.
- Know where the nearest shelter and hospital are.
- Make a go-bag with essential clothes, food, water, and medications.
- Have a family meet-up place if you are separated, and make sure all family members know where it is located.
By following these hurricane preparedness tips, you can be sure that you and your family will be as safe as possible and can weather the storms of hurricane season.