Like it or not, hurricanes and natural disasters are part of our lives. We all know that hurricanes can make a strong impression on everyone and everything in their path, and that is why finding a hurricane shelter, getting all the necessary supplies and learning how to protect your family in case of disaster is a very important topic. That should not be ignored. When the storm hits it is better to be informed and ready for action! In this way, you can stay calm and put your family and loved ones safe.
If you live in an area frequented by hurricanes, know that hurricanes are unpredictable. They do not hit the same way twice, but they all have something in common: the disaster they leave behind. Therefore, the first rule when it comes to surviving a hurricane is to stay informed. Get in touch with the authorities and get more information about the situation in your area. Also watch the media and try to stay informed online.
As soon as there is a hurricane alert, you must make a very important decision: stay or leave. This decision must be made quickly (hurricanes are not known for their patience) and only after speaking with local authorities. If you live in an area with little chance of flooding and have not been ordered to evacuate, you can stay at home, in the room closest to the floor of your home. If you have a basement, that is the best option for you.
What you need to have with you in case of emergency.
According to the owner, there are two types of shelters for violent storms:
- Public shelters, generally located in solid public institutions, such as schools where there is room for more people;
- your own personal shelter built in a safe area for you and your family.
Due to the lack of space and conditions in public shelters, the authorities recommend that people think of this as a last resort. If you have friends or relatives who can offer you housing outside the area in danger of extinction, you should choose this option over the refuge. In this way, you leave space for other people who have nowhere else to go, and you and your family can feel comfortable and out of danger.
Public shelters are usually spacious, but they can be very crowded, given the fact that many people have to flee the fury of the hurricane. Also, there are no pillows, bedding, showers or food, so you should come prepared. The authorities always recommend that people assemble an emergency kit according to the type of emergency they are most likely to experience: hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, etc.
Of course, it is better if you prepare the emergency kit when there are no threats or alerts because hurricane emergencies only give you a few minutes to think about what you and your family need to survive. In that short period of time, you will be grateful to have an emergency kit to grab and carry.
Just to give you an idea about some essential hurricane shelter elements that each member of your family should have in their emergency kit, we made a list with the basics:
- Food: You must have a non-perishable food supply for three days that will help you stay energized during the storm. Pack some energy bars, cookies, peanut butter, nuts, cookies and dried fruit;
- Clothing: Make sure you have everything you need, from underwear to clothing that keeps you warm. After the storm is over, you may have to work at home for a few days and you will need comfortable clothes.
- Bedding – only the basics: pillows, blankets and sheets;
- Personal items (hygiene and any other important thing);
- Medications: If you have a family member who takes a certain type of medication, do not forget to pack it in the emergency kit.
- First aid supplies: bandages, band-aids, antibacterial ointments, hand sanitizer, analgesics;
- Water: always bring fresh water in your emergency kit. It is very important to have a three-day supply with you;
Other things you should take from home:
- Important documents that you do not want to be destroyed;
- If you have small children, bring some of your favorite toys or games. This will help them stay calm in the shelter;
- Supplies for your baby: extra diapers, ointments, wipes, etc.
- Extra money;
- Flash lights with batteries;
- Radio: to stay informed about the storm’s scenario and to find out when it is safe to leave;
- A fully charged phone battery, in case you need to ask for help.
Remember, if you have to go to a public hurricane shelter, you will have to share a closed space with many people you do not know. That is why it is very important to be prepared with medicines and first aid supplies: to protect yourself and your family and to help others in need (if the situation comes).
How to find the best refuge for your family.
If your only option is a shelter and you do not have one built in your backyard, then you should know how to find the best shelter for your whole family. That is why we elaborate a list with some very important steps that can help you accelerate the process:
- Find out where the nearest hurricane shelter is and how to get there in the shortest time possible. This way, if you have to evacuate, you can arrive on time.
- Be sure to keep up with the locations of active shelters because the locations can change from one year to the next. You do not want to get to an old hurricane shelter with a hurricane behind you.
- Get out as soon as possible! If your area is being evacuated, do not waste time. Space in a public hurricane shelter is limited.
- Make sure that you and your family are suitable for the shelter you are going to and that you can respect their rules. In difficult times, people tend to get nervous and rules are created especially for this type of situation.
- If you have pets, do not leave them behind! They are part of your family and also deserve to be saved. Find a pet shelter or arrange for them to stay at a friend’s house outside the danger zone. Also remember to bring food and water for your pets.
Now that we’ve talked about finding a hurricane shelter and the essentials of hurricane shelters, it’s time to discuss the second option you have when going out in an area frequented by violent storms: build your own shelter.
According to the way in which shelters are built, there are two main types of shelters:
- Above the ground: it is usually built in areas that flood quickly;
- Inland terrain (or bunker): usually found in areas where the water table is low and there is no danger of the area flooding. These types of shelters are more frequent in the area called “Tornado Alley” and in the southeast of the US. UU
If you decide it is time to build your own storm shelter, you can get all the necessary information about the storm shelter construction standards of the Federal Emergency Management Association.
How to build a good hurricane shelter.
Most people who have gone through more than one disastrous storm decided to build a hurricane shelter on their own. This way, they do not have to leave the house when the hurricane hits. It is easier for the whole family to simply enter the shelter and wait for the storm to pass.
If you also think about building your own shelter, there are some very important things that should be taken into account:
- The type of shelter. – As we discussed earlier, there are two types of shelters. The most convenient is the bunker, but if you live in an area that is often flooded and the water table is high, you can not build a shelter inside. In this situation, your hurricane shelter must be built on the ground.
- Distance from the house – You must build your hurricane shelter at a safe distance from the house. This way, in case the house collapses, it will not catch you or your family.
- Standard security measures – You should discuss your plans with a specialist (even if you plan to build the shelter alone) and know the safety measures and quality standards that are required in your area.
- Quality construction materials – Here you can not cculate the corners. You must use the recommended materials for this type of construction if you want your shelter to retain even the strongest storm.
- Dimension – Your hurricane shelter should be large enough for your entire family. Therefore, if you plan on expanding your family, you may want to take this into consideration when planning the storm bunker.
- Supply room – Each shelter must have a supply room that can be easily accessed from inside. Here you can store food supplies, water, clothes and any other items you consider necessary during a hurricane.
A word for the wise: the hurricane shelter that goes underground can be a fun DIY project for the whole family, but do not apply the same thought when it comes to an independent refuge. This requires more than a hole in the ground and it is better to call a specialized team.
What do you need for a shelter on the ground?
These types of shelters are usually made of steel panels bolted to a concrete or fortified concrete base with reinforcing bars so they can contain a heavy storm. They must stand tall against the fury of the hurricane and protect the people inside. That is why you must ensure that everything is correctly constructed and in accordance with safety regulations.
If you’re not in the mood for blueprints, discussions, and construction in your backyard, you can order a prefabricated unit from one of the companies that sell storm shelters designed for violent winds such as hurricanes and tornadoes.
In conclusion, if you want to build a hurricane shelter above the ground, you have two main options: start a new construction and deal with all aspects of this action, or request a unit and have it meet on the site.
What do you need for a bunker?
This type of shelter is easier to build, since it does not have to stand in front of the fury of the hurricane. The bunker or the underground shelter for hurricanes is (in simple terms) a hole in the ground, with a door that communicates with the outside world.
First you have to decide the positioning. Do not build it too close to your house or other buildings. If the house is destroyed during the hurricane, it is possible that it will be blocked inside the hurricane shelter. After finding the ideal location, make sure that each person using the shelter has at least 10 square feet of available space (do not forget the supply room that needs additional space).
The door should be built at a 45-degree angle to make it easy to open after the storm passes. In this way, it will be easier to remove any debris, trees, sand or rocks that may fall on your shelter door during the storm once everything is finished.
You will need to pour a concrete base and use waterproof materials for the walls and roof, but in addition to the technical aspects, you can make your underground hurricane shelter as comfortable as possible, given the fact that your entire family will use it at some time. point.
In conclusion, an underground hurricane shelter is much more fun to build and can be much less expensive than an independent shelter.
Why should I build my own hurricane shelter?
Having your own shelter presents some important advantages that we want to point out in the following way:
- You do not have to leave your house; You simply go to the shelter and wait for the storm to pass.
- No hurricane will catch you unprepared. When you have everything you need in the shelter, it is easier to make sure that your whole family is safe and cared for.
- The only “complicated” decision you will have to make in the event of a hurricane will be how quickly you will arrive at the shelter.
- You will not run out of supplies. If you make sure that your supply room is properly equipped, you will not have to worry about anything.
- You and your family will feel comfortable in a room specially designed for you. You will not have to share it with hundreds of other people.
- You can store more useful items in your own shelter. You can have ropes, chainsaws, more clothes and other useful tools that can be very useful at that time.
It is true that building your own hurricane shelter can be an important investment of your time and money, but in the end it is worth it. If you live in an area with a high risk of violent winds and frequent flooding, you must first think about the safety of your family.
As a final conclusion, having the right information at the right time can make the difference between life and death. Even though a hurricane is a violent storm that destroys everything in its own way, people have found ways to survive and rebuild their lives. If you know when and where to go, you can protect your family in any situation.