How to Prepare For a Hurricane
#1: Are you in a Hurricane Evacuation Area?
These are the areas most affected by the power of the storm and are usually known as surge areas. This means that, if the authorities announce a hurricane will hit, you have to evacuate, no questions asked. These areas are public so, if you’re not sure about this, ask the local authorities. They will also be able to provide you with evacuation plans and guide towards a preparedness guide.
In the spirit of preparedness, if you are located in such an area, you should do drills and tests of the evacuation plan. Take your family with you and ask them to imagine how this trip would look like with a hurricane on your tail.
#2: The BOB
The BOB or the Bug Out Bag is a kit of supplies you will need in the case of an evacuation. While it’s true that shelters do have supplies, it’s usually difficult to anticipate the number of people who will be looking for a safe place. So, in many situations, the supplies run out pretty fast.
Your BOB should contain the items you need for your survival like food (canned food so it won’t spoil during storage time), water, hygiene items, drugs (with and without a prescription), a first aid kit, water purification tablets, a change of clothes, and other similar items. It’s also important to make sure the backpack is not too heavy and every member of the family should carry their own (if they can).
The content of the BOB should be planned for three days as this is how long it takes for rescue teams and authorities to settle things in an area affected by a hurricane.
#3: Keep the Communication Lines Open
It’s important to be aware of the things that happen outside, which is why specialists recommend adding one or two communication devices in your BOB. However, you should also know that in most cases, hurricanes disrupt landlines and make the commercial network unusable. This means that you won’t have phone signal or access to the Internet.
In this situation, the best device to use is the radio and you can read more about the best devices in this handheld ham radio guide. It’s best to make sure you know how to operate these devices before the storm hits so you’ll know how to find the NOAA channels and how to communicate using the radio.
#4: Prepare your home
If you are not situated in an evacuation area, and no warning is issued by the authorities, you can stay in the house and wait for the storm to pass. This is the ideal situation (if you have to go through a hurricane) as you have access to more supplies and water.
It is crucial to know how to prepare your house for a Hurricane by planning ahead and have the supplies ready with at least a month before the hurricane. In the days that precede a natural event, most stores will be emptied out and there will be huge lines at the ATMs as most people start to prepare at the very last moment.
It’s also important to store water in the house as the hurricane can tamper with the main water source or can damage the network. If you don’t have enough space in the fridge, and there are not enough plastic containers, you can fill the bathtub with water. You can use this for washing, flushing the toilet, and other things and keep the water for drinking in the fridge.
In order to make sure the hurricane will do as little damage as possible to the house, you should board your windows and doors. Also, check the roof and ask the opinion of a hurricane specialist (you may need to employ a bit more work on the roof to withstand high-speed winds).
Make sure that nothing is left outside (patio furniture, bikes, decorative items, and so on) as these can be used by the wind to inflict damage or even harm people trapped in the storm. Finally, reinforce your garage doors (they are less resistant) and turn off the gas and power to the entire home.
Overall, it’s important to keep your calm and act fast when the warning is delivered. Authorities will ask to evacuate in time, but the general state of panic and confusion will make evacuation slower and more difficult.