Hurricanes are much more than your average storm, and you don’t have to live directly along the coast to feel their devastating effects. Powerful winds and heavy rains can knock out the power, destroy houses, and flood roads. Learn how you can stay prepared for a hurricane, whether you’re hunkering down or bugging out.
Make a Plan
For any natural disaster, you want to make sure you have a disaster readiness plan and that every family member knows it. Unlike other disasters, you tend to have more notice before a hurricane hits, giving you extra time to prepare your home, get in touch with your family, and consider evacuation.
Prepare Your Home
As soon as you know a hurricane is possible, start preparing your house. Board up windows, secure the roof and siding, and bring outdoor furniture inside. This can help reduce the damage done to your home in more mild hurricanes. If you’re not evacuating, be sure to stay away from windows and remain in the interior rooms of your home.
It’s possible that not all family members will be together when a hurricane strikes, so it’s essential to have a communication plan in place. Collect all your family’s contact information in one document, and make sure each family member has a copy. Establish who will contact whom in case things get serious.
You also need a way to stay in contact with the outside world. Have a solar radio on hand so you can get emergency updates and news even if the power goes out.
Depending on the severity of the hurricane and your proximity to it, you might need or want to evacuate. Make sure you have a bug-out bag ready to go, your gas tank is full, and you’ve shut off the utilities. If things take a turn for the worse and your family is separated, establish a safe meeting place. Knowing your evacuation route ahead of time can help you save time and make it easier to plan a meeting spot.
Stock the Right Supplies
Ensuring you and your family know your emergency plan is just the first step. Any good preparation plan will also include the proper hurricane supplies. To ensure your family stays well-fed, comfortable, and healthy, create a hurricane kit with a few essential supplies.
Food and Water
To make sure you don’t go hungry, set aside at least three days’ worth of an emergency food supply (although more is always better). Non-perishable items with a long shelf life, such as peanut butter and canned goods, are the best foods for a hurricane kit. Hydration is also key. A good rule of thumb is to include at least one gallon of water per person per day. Even if you’re staying home, you need plenty of bottled water because hurricanes tend to cut off usable water supplies. A water filtration system is another great option.
Alternative Power Source
In the aftermath of a hurricane, electricity is often unavailable. Be sure to have plenty of candles and a backup power source. Generators can help power essential devices and give you the comfort of lighting if needed. Don’t forget about other gear like camp stoves that can help you continue to cook if power outages are long-lasting.
Finally, a first aid kit is essential in any hurricane bug-out bag. Being able to rapidly treat minor injuries like cuts, stings, sprains, and more can prevent serious health complications later.
Protect Your Finances
Protecting your personal finances in a natural disaster might not be top of mind in the middle of extreme weather conditions. Still, it’s an important step to ensuring your family can recover as quickly as possible.
If you haven’t already, get homeowner’s insurance and make sure that your policy has all the coverage you need. Flooding is not typically covered, so you may have to purchase additional coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Because the electrical grid may be down for an extended period, you might not be able to use credit cards or withdraw funds from an ATM. Be sure to keep a small amount of cash stored in a safe place so you can purchase the fuel, food, and other supplies if needed.
Gather critical documents, such as financial, insurance, and medical records, and keep copies in your hurricane kit.
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