Are You Ready Series: Hurricane Preparedness

It seems that natural storms have become more severe in recent years.  No one takes hurricanes lightly anymore due to the shock and awe that hurricane Katrina caused when she came ashore.  These monster storms are so violent and have the capacity to level an entire town.

Hurricanes are serious tropical storms with winds that exceed 74 mph and have a tendency to cause structural damage to homes and commercial businesses.  Inland flooding is also a concern for many who live on the coasts because a hurricane can dump dozens of inches of water in a matter of days.  The extent of the damage done by a hurricane depends on the category that is has been assigned.  The categories range from 1 (minimal damage) to 5 (severe damage).  Plans and preparations should be made prior to the possibility of a hurricane threat.

Those that live in the coastal areas know that hurricanes are always lurking around the corner.  Therefore, it is only logical to have a disaster plan in place in the case this is the year the hurricane will hit.

Make a Plan

A disaster plan is one of the most important aspects of preparedness.   A decisive plan of action should take into account the pros and cons of any given situation.  The basic premise of having a disaster plan is to know what your Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C is before the disaster strikes.  Your main priorities are shelter, fire, and water, and food.   When preparing a disaster plan, keep all the information together in a binder called the G.O.O.D Manual.  This will keep vital information, emergency plans, contact information, etc organized and ready in the case someone needs it in a pinch.  It would be wise to write down a main contact of someone outside of the hurricane area that you can use as a communication hub to relay pertinent information to other members of the family or friends.  This is important because 1. You do not want to be on the phone the entire time calling people with updates, and 2. Phone lines are going to be maxed out.  It will be hard to get through multiple times.

If you plan on bugging out or evacuating, get the evuaction plan in order, needed items together and try and leave before the mass exodus.  No one wants to be caught in idle traffic for hours.  Also, having extra gallons of gasoline would also be beneficial.  In the past, many refugees who did not have extra gas and ran out of gas ended up having to abandon their cars on the highway.  Bottom line is plan ahead and try and leave as early as possible.

Calling one person will minimize the time of the phone, and you can concentrate your effort on other important things.  Additionally, contact a friend or relative to see if you would be able to stay with them (if you plan on getting out of the storms path).

Learn about your community emergency response plan, as well as the national weather radio stations prior to the threat of a storm.  The National Hurricane Center is also a good source for information regarding approaching hurricanes and tropical storms.

Plan For The Worst Scenario and Get Emergency Supplies Now

Typically, when a hurricane watch or warning is issued, there is a mass flock to the stores to gather items.  People tend to buy the exact same thing (canned goods, water, infant formula, etc), and these are the items that run out the fastest.  Those who wait to gather supplies until the last minute are typically the ones who will either end up waiting in long lines, or go home empty handed because all the stores have sold our of supplies.

The most important item to have on hand besides a plan, is water.   Multiple disaster organizations suggest having 1 gallon of water per person per day.  This suggestion is for drinking purposes only.  If a person wants to flush their toilet or clean dirty dishes, they will need to have extra water on hand.  Having a water filter or micropur tablets is a good idea to have on hand in the case that city water is interrupted or a person’s well has become contaminated.  Here are some additional suggestions for having extra water on hand:

  • Properly clean and bleach a bath tub.  Caulk the drain hold and allow it to dry.  Fill it with water.
  • Freeze zip loc bags filled with water.
  • Use emtpy juice containers (cleaned thoroughly) and fill them with water.
  • Fill buckets with water to use for flushing the toilet.

Gathering foods for a short term disaster can be relatively inexpensive.  It is a good idea to plan for the worst case scenario so that everything can be prepared for.  Since electricity going out is typically a problem with hurricanes, purchase foods that are shelf stable and can be stored without refrigeration. Learn how to protect your food sources during power disruptions here. Furthermore, plan meals to meet a 1500-2000 calorie diet that are high in nutrients so that individuals in the home can keep up their energy levels up.  Keep in mind any members of the family that are on special diets (including pets).

Other supplies such as flashlights, batteries, a battery operated or solar radio, first aid kit and a good can opener are some other additional items one may need if a hurricane hits.  Gasoline will also be in an extremely high demand.  Especially if a person is using a generator to power a home.  Having a ready supply of fuel will help make the experience of bugging in a little less of a burden and more of a minor inconvenience.

Protect the Home

Prior to the storm, the home should be prepared so that when the storm hits, it sustains minimal damage.  Below, one can find some tips on how to prepare the home.

  • Move the furniture into the center of the room so that if the windows break, the incoming rainfall does not damage the furniture as badly.
  • Take pictures of the home for insurance purposes, check insurance policies and take valuable pictures and memorabilia.  Turn off the water valve on the water tank.
  • Bring in any lose furniture or backyard items inside.
  • Remove any dead limbs from the yard.
  • Prepare windows and doorways for possible flooding.
  • Clear out any gutters or drains so that flooding waters can drain
  • Find a room with no windows to use as a shelter and set up sleeping bags and other supplies there.

For additional information on preparing a home, here is a Homeowner’s Checklist that can be viewed.

In Summation

Once May roles around, people all around the east and gulf coast begin to brace themselves for the possibility of being up close and personal with a hurricane.  Hurricanes are storms that are not a force to be reckoned with.  There high gale force winds and flooding cause serious damage to homes as well as create severe beach erosion.  Having a decisive action plan, food, water and supplies already stored and knowing how to protect your home will keep you and your family as safe as possible.

 

Additional Reading Material:

www.nhc.noaa.gov

www.hurricaneworkshop.com

www.hurricanes.gov

www.solarstik.com/emergency.php

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 24th, 2010
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  • lynn

    Great info. We live in south Fl and have been through several devastating hurricanes. In addition to the basics mentioned here (which pretty much cover everything) I’d like to add: Gasoline is imperative. Fill several portable gas containers at the beginning of hurricane season. Rotate them, using the gas in your lawn mower or vehicle but replacing it as you go. Cash, at least $100 per person. ATM’s run out quickly and banks limit how much you can withdrawl. Bug spray goes a long way when there’s no electricity and be prepared to do your laundry in a bucket.

  • maggi

    love this article. lots of good info. im in the tampa area right near the water. i agree with lynn, gas and $$$ from an ATM before the storm are both absolute necessities. got caught without $$$ once and had to drive 45 miles to find an ATM that worked. i was fortunate to get there safely. youve given me more ideas to add to my cane supplies. thanks.

  • wayne frisby

    gas, water, canned goods, money. all necessary. showers are also nice. to do, spray paint a garden sprayer black and keep filled with water. keep with other preps. set in sun several hours. be careful, the water can get very hot. wet down lather, then rinse. a definite morale booster.

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