Those of us who live in regions at risk of hurricanes have a responsibility to be proactive in preparing—not only for immediately approaching storms, but also for a potentially volatile hurricane season. Each June through November, conditions are ideal for the formation of hurricanes. These dangerous conditions peak between August and September.
Ensuring that you, your loved ones, and your property are safe during a hurricane includes being prepared for hazardous situations, being knowledgeable about hurricane forecasts, and being aware of local resources that may be available to you.
A Family Emergency Plan
A family emergency plan can help relieve some of the stress and uncertainty associated with an oncoming hurricane. An emergency plan will help ensure that family members stay connected throughout a storm. An ideal family emergency plan should include the following:
- A meeting place for immediate family following a storm
- A list of shelters that are willing and able to accommodate the more unique members of your family—elderly, pets, children, and more
- A specific plan to accommodate any disabled family members
- An evacuation plan that includes how and where you will travel in case of a storm
- A clear map of your evacuation zone and route
Preparing your home for a hurricane entails boarding up windows, removing lawn furniture, and securing loose items in your yard. A lawn chair, grill, or backyard trampoline can become dangerous projectiles in the rapid winds of a hurricane, possibly causing damage to property and people. Many residents of hurricane-prone regions have discovered the value of a home back-up generator during a power outage. It is important that any portable generators operate outdoors and allow for ventilation away from the home. Wiring, usage, and safety instructions should be closely followed.
Hurricanes often provoke long lines at gas stations and possible fuel shortages. It is a good idea to keep your gas tank nearly full throughout hurricane season. This will allow you ample fuel to evacuate before or after the storm if necessary. The best time to acquire and fill a spare propane tank for your outdoor grill is before the storm. An outdoor grill could become the primary cooking source in the event of a prolonged energy outage.
Flood Zone Maps
Many underestimate the dangers that water presents in a hurricane. Storm surge, flooding streets, and overflowing rivers can create travel issues and become potentially deadly to those in the area. It can be helpful to review area flood zone maps so you will be aware of areas that are likely to flood first and avoid them in the event of a storm.
Hurricane Preparedness Supplies
As a hurricane approaches, supplies will become increasingly difficult to find. Stores will be crowded, and shelves may be emptied. It is critical to purchase the necessary supplies prior to a storm’s approach. Here is a list of common supplies to have on hand:
- Non-perishable foods
- Waterproof containers
- First-aid kit
- Waterproof matches
- Can opener
- Battery operated radio
- Personal hygiene products
- Child toys and pet toys
- Cards and games
- Cell phone back-up batteries and charging cords
Take advantage of local and online resources available to help you stay connected with frequent weather reports and instructions from authorities throughout a storm.