People who have already gone through a hurricane know the hurricane preparedness checklist and how important this is to successfully survive such an outburst. This checklist should contain only the basic elements that the family needs to survive for a few days in a shelter, far from home.
Now, depending on your organizational skills, you can put together a real list and paste it into the refrigerator or simply have a space where you can deposit all the things you consider useful in case of a natural disaster. Our main recommendation is to think carefully about this and pack everything so that your emergency kit is light and full of useful items that can save lives.
When it comes to hurricanes, the key to survival is preparation. If you are new to an area where hurricanes love to play ball, you may think that making a list and storing objects for an event that may or may not occur during the current year is a stupid thing. You can collect everything you need when there is a storm alert. Well, this is where I could be wrong: a hurricane is not waiting for anyone, it just appears. There are only a few minutes left before you have to leave in case of evacuation and you will not have time to search for everything (even more, think about it!).
Hurricanes generally occur from June to November (in the US) and reach the coast with heavy rain storms and waves. Although they seem to stop at the coast, the heavy rain also causes flooding in the interior and increases the scope of the disaster. It really takes a lot of calm and good decision making to make sure that you and your family get to a hurricane shelter safe and sound. That’s why preparing for a hurricane in advance is always the best way to overcome a natural disaster of this magnitude.
Preparing for a hurricane – do do and do
Why is hurricane preparedness so important? There are authorities who can help you and the warning is usually issued 36 hours before something happens. It is true, the authorities try to do everything possible to warn and help the population to reach a safe place before all hell breaks loose, but if you and your family are prepared and know what to do, you can go and help to another person who is (perhaps) in many more problems
Hurricanes are preceded by panic, disorganization and total madness and followed by suffering and losses. These are some pretty difficult situations that authorities must endure and it is good to try to make your job a little easier. And, at the end of the day, who does not want to know that their family is prepared in case of an emergency situation?
Although the warnings are issued between 48 and 36 hours before the hurricane arrives, the wind is already strong enough and the rain begins to fall. Also, there is no sure way to predict what a hurricane might do. That is why it is very important to be prepared: knowledge is power and you will definitely want the members of your family to have that power. You should not let your family become a burden simply because you do not believe in preparation!
In order to help you with your hurricane preparedness checklist, we put together some things that should be very useful:
- Start preparing a few weeks before the hurricane season.
- Review your old hurricane supplies and update those that need it. Check the expiration dates of cans, first aid kits, juice boxes, etc.
- Do not hide your emergency equipment in a place of difficult access, you will need it at hand.
- Do not take food that needs to cook with you. Canned and dried foods are the best solution.
- Build a plan and involve your family. In this way they will understand and know how to act in a difficult situation.
- Think about the evacuation situation: where will he stay if he has to evacuate? Get in touch with your friends and family and find out if they can host it.
- Discuss different scenarios with the members of your family. For example, what to do if you separate and how to find you.
- Do not think too much. Create simple strategies that are easy to follow and understand.
- Stay informed. Teach your children what radio station to listen to for updates on the storm.
- Do not wait until the last minute to buy hurricane supplies. In a crisis situation, store shelves empty quickly and you could be the one who did not arrive at the store in time.
We know that this is a fairly short list, compared to the severity of a hurricane, but it includes the basics. We also hope it will be a wake-up call for people living in areas affected by the hurricane. They must realize that a hurricane is a very serious situation.
How to be fully prepared – hurricane supplies
When it comes to hurricane supplies, it is very easy to exaggerate things. If you do not have your own shelter in the backyard, you may want to rearrange things before the evacuation order. You have to carry supplies during bad weather and if you have small children or pets with you, the problem increases in difficulty.
The main rule of supply for a hurricane situation is: keep it simple and easy! Be sure to take only the basics and make sure you drink enough to last a few days. Hurricanes always arrive on time but do not like to live early.
Here is a list of 32 items that you should consider including in your preparation checklist:
- Canned meals;
- Can opener (to open all those cans);
- Energy bars and snacks;
- Bottled water and juice;
- Refrigerators for food and beverages;
- Medications (analgesics, recipes, special treatments, etc.);
- First aid kit;
- Extra money (ATMs may not work at the edge of a heavy storm);
- Flashlights on batteries;
- Adhesive tape (you never know when you need it);
- Personal hygiene products (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper …);
- Cell phone fully charged for communication;
- Additional batteries for your cell phone (power may be off);
- Radio that works with batteries;
- Clothing for at least 3 days;
- Bedding and pillows;
- Fire extinguisher;
- Food for your pet (if you have one) and the pet;
- Diapers (if you have a baby);
- Toys and games for children to keep them occupied during the storm.
- Rope (in case you need it to move the fallen trees off the road);
- Small tools you might need after the storm passes;
- Work footwear to protect your feet from the water;
- An extra tank of gasoline (if you have a car);
- Important documents that you must protect to prevent them from being destroyed;
- Matches and candles (in case the electricity goes out and you stay in the dark);
- Plastic trash bags (even if outside it’s all the craziness in the world that you still have to clean up after inside);
- Heavy gloves (for all the work you will have to do after the hurricane passes);
- Rain gear for the whole family (and your pet if you consider it necessary).
It may look like a great emergency kit, but you can divide it among family members who are strong enough to handle a bag. If you have a car, transportation should not be a problem and most items do not take up much space.
As you can see, our list also includes elements that you will need after the storm, but if you do not have the space or means of transportation, you can take the absolute fundamentals you need to survive in the shelter.
How to handle pets during a hurricane.
You probably noticed that we also include pets and their needs on the hurricane preparedness checklist. If you do not have pets, you can simply skip this part and move on to protecting your home and other assets.
On the other hand, if you are a pet owner, then you know that you must also take care of their needs. Your pet plan can go in three directions:
- Take them to a friend who lives outside the area in danger of extinction and who can take care of them.
- Leave them with a specialized service or in a pet shelter.
- Take them with you
If you decide one of the first two options, you must have a plan prepared. This way you can take your pets to a safe place before the storm starts. If you want to take your pet with you, do not forget your needs. Pack food, cat litter, carrier, leash, toys, medications and anything else you may need. Also, do not forget to check if the shelter you are targeting pets.
A very important rule when you have pets. and you are preparing for a hurricane: Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. If you need to be rescued, you may not be able to take your pets with you. Do you really want to let them hold back such a horrible storm?
There is always the possibility of a separation during a hurricane, so make sure you put an identification tag with your name and phone number on your pet’s collar. In this way, whoever finds your pet can return it to its owner.
How to prepare your house
There is one thing that we have not yet included in the hurricane preparedness checklist: the house and the surroundings. Some storms are so strong that they flatten everything in their own way. Still, if you prepare your home in the right way, you could get away with minimal damages.
We prepare a list with some basic steps that you should follow as soon as you hear that there might be a hurricane at your address:
- Gather and store in a safe place any item that can be picked up by the wind (tables, patio furniture, swings, etc.). In this way, you make sure that you will still have them after the storm and will not end up hurting another person. With powerful wind, even a simple patio furniture can be a fatal projectile.
- Upload large windows and doors that you will not use. In this way, it does not allow the powerful wind to find weak points in the structure of the house. Those who can not climb must reinforce with strong hinges and latches.
- Use hurricane clips to make the roof more wind resistant.
- Reinforce the garage door and you can use the garage to store the things you gathered from outside.
- Unplug all appliances before leaving and make sure gas, water, heat and anything else is off.
- Do not leave the windows uncovered. This can be an open invitation to anyone who tries to steal homes that are not supervised.
- Clean the rain gutters so that the water can be evacuated properly.
- Put any of the valuables that remain in clean plastic bags and move them to the highest level of the house. This way they will be safe in case of flood.
To evacuate or not to evacuate?
Like Shakespeare this may sound, it can actually be a life or death decision. Our recommendation is: if the authorities say you need to evacuate, you should leave as soon as possible. There is no need to put you and your family in danger.
If the hurricane will affect the area in which you live, but there is no evacuation order, you should follow the steps in “Preparing your house for the hurricane” to make sure there is no wind. I will disintegrate your house.
Also, establish a safe room in the house, with no windows and a single door where each member of the family can seek refuge in case something goes wrong. Here you should save your hurricane supplies and set up your hurricane preparedness center.
Some additional precautions you should take in case you decide to stay in a hurricane:
- Fill the tub with water to make sure your water supply is sufficient for everyone.
- Freeze as much water as you can, even when the food is cut off. In this way, you will still have fresh water and a cool place to store food.
- Make sure the road to the attic is not blocked by anything and store some tools there, in case of a severe flood.
- Make sure you are following the news on the radio or on television. When properly informed one makes the right decisions.
- Do not leave candles on without supervision. The wind can enter and cause a fire while in another room.
- At the time of landing, be sure to stay away from windows and glass doors that could break and harm you or your loved ones.
Remember: staying behind against the advice of the authority is not a wise decision. It is your responsibility if there is an evacuation order and you stay behind with the hope that everything is fine. The rescue can come to your house too late and the only one to blame will be you.
Preparing with the help of technology.
Today’s technology is quite advanced and it would have been a surprise if there were no applications related to hurricane prevention and obtaining help during one. There is a Red Cross hurricane application available on Google Play and the App Store, which allows you to notify people if you are safe or not. You can also post your location so that your loved ones know where you are. This application is very useful in case it is separated during the hurricane and can not be communicated using traditional forms.
Now that we are on the subject, the Red Cross also has a first aid application for those who need help, but who lack means of communication. Being able to use modern technology during a hurricane is very useful, but if it goes out, this can be useless. That is why it is very important to have a preparedness checklist and make an emergency kit before the season starts.
Hurricane preparedness is not a game.
In the end, let’s summarize what we have learned about preparing for a hurricane and draw the final conclusions. We saw that hurricanes are not something that is ignored in the background until the time comes to face them. They are catastrophic natural events that must be treated with respect and, sometimes, with fear.
We need to prepare in advance each member of our family so that they do not lose their calm in a stressful situation (like separating from the family during the storm). In addition, hurricane supplies are vital to our survival in a hurricane shelter or even in our own home. Due to strong winds and heavy rains, hurricanes can cause damage that will affect the natural order of things for days. That is why it is very important to have the necessary supplies for a few days.
The preparation of the house and the surroundings is also extremely important. Powerful hurricanes can cause irreparable damage, but if the house is properly reinforced it can have a real possibility of facing the fury of Mother Nature.
As you can see, hurricane preparation is not a game; Being prepared when the weather gets worse is completely your responsibility.