A Hurricane is on the Way… Are You Prepared?
There are things you can do to help prepare yourself and your family for an upcoming storm. It is important to be aware of what the National Weather Service is reporting, to remain calm, and to have a plan in place. Here are some tips to help you get ready for a severe weather event.
GET YOUR KIT TOGETHER
Putting together an emergency kit for your home is always a good idea, but if you do not already have one in place, now is the time to do so. This kit can be used in the event you are not able to leave your home after a storm, have lost power, or if you need to evacuate before the storm. What should it include?
Water — One gallon per day, per person, for a minimum of 5 days, to use for drinking and sanitation.
Non-Perishable Food — Make sure you have enough for at least 5 days. Don’t forget your pets! Make sure you have a manual can opener for canned goods.
Medication and Medical Essentials — make sure all members of your household (to include pets) have at least enough prescription medication for a week, longer if possible. Make sure you have a currently stocked first aid kit and any over the counter medications you may need.
Personal Care — Items that are essential like denture products, sanitary items, and contact lens solution should be stocked for at least a week. Additionally make sure that you have any items for a baby (diapers, wipes, formula) for a minimum of one week, longer if possible. Baby wipes and hand sanitizer are also incredibly helpful in an emergency, and can save your drinkable water.
Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA weather radio and extra batteries.
Flashlights and extra batteries.
Important papers — Put social security cards, birth certificates, medical records and other legal or important documents in plastic bags and secure inside a plastic tote.
Other items — Paper and pencil, tools needed to shut off water to your home, matches in a waterproof container, disposable utensils, plates and cups, and at least one change of clothing for each person.
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR A HURRICANE
Remove all items from outside including picnic tables, chairs, lawn care items, trash cans, umbrellas, and toys. Anything left outside can become a projectile.
Fill a bathtub with water in one bathroom. (Make sure you keep the door closed and not accessible to small children.) This will allow you to flush your toilets during or after a storm if your water is turned off. Simply use water from the tub to pour into your toilet before flushing. This water should not be used for drinking water.
Freeze many containers of water. Any plastic container you can find can be filled with water and frozen. Before a storm, you can place these frozen containers in your refrigerator or freezer to help keep perishables fresh, (a freezer/refrigerator stays colder when it is full), and if needed they can be thawed out for drinking water.
Remove weak and dead tree limbs close to your property.
If you know for sure that a storm is coming, and if there is time, buying plywood to cover your windows can help reduce damage to your home and keep your family safe from breaking glass. If you do find damage to your home, take a few photos before doing what you can to prevent any further damage to your home.
HAVE A PLAN
Know where the safest place to ride out a storm is in your home. A centrally located room with no windows is the best bet.
Shutters should be a planned element of any vulnerable home. Permanent fasteners should be installed long before storm warnings, so panels can be put in place quickly and time can be spent focusing on the needs of your family and pets.
Why you need to protect windows and doors:
- Keeping wind and water out is critical to home survival.
- Protective barriers keep glass from breaking, and possibly injuring occupants.
- More importantly, they keep wind-driven rain from soaking the home's interior, and reduces the chance wind pressure will build up inside, looking for a way out.
- Breached windows and doors often = loss of roof.
Bringing mattresses into this room to cover yourself with can be helpful. Additionally, bicycle helmets can help protect your from head trauma. If a windowless room does not exist in your home, having tables to turn on their sides can help protect you as well.
If it is recommended that you evacuate, heed the advice! Have an evacuation route in mind before you need it, make sure your vehicles are filled with gas, your emergency kit is ready to grab at a moment's notice. Also, try to make sure you have cash on hand, and always save your receipts in case you need to file an insurance claim.
Make a plan for pets. Many shelters do not allow pets; you need to find out where you can go with your animals before a storm hits if you should need to evacuate.
The most important things are to be aware of the weather conditions in your area, put safety first, and be prepared.