Hurricane is typically a type of cyclone that forms over warm ocean waters and moves towards land. Hurricanes can damage properties and shatter lives as they also bring along heavy rainfall, powerful winds, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, landslides, rip currents, and tornadoes. They are most active in September and can happen along any U.S territory, affecting areas over 100 miles inland.
Note: Always be sure to follow local and federal authority guidelines and recommendations for hurricane preparation and planning.
One should always be prepared for such massive disasters that can cause a lot. If you know the right steps to take before, during, and after the hurricane, you will be able to protect yourself and your family andminimize the impact of the storm. Here’s what you need to know:
Before the Hurricane
Protect Your Home First
Powerful winds that come with hurricanes can turn landscaping materials into high-speed missiles that can cause destruction to your property. Significant damage occurs after the windstorm when rain enters the structures through doors, broken windows, and openings in the roof.
If your home is protected against all these possibilities, you are much safer than someone who hasn’t taken any measures yet.
- Get lopper shears on the Fiskars website and cut weak branches from tall trees that can fall on your house.
- Seal any outside wall openings that may allow rain to enter inside your home — for example, vents, cable and pipe holes, electrical outlets, and garden hose bibs.
- Replace rock landscaping materials outside your home with shredded bark because it is lighter and would not cause as much harm as gravel or rock would.
- Fit plywood panels to your windows and install storm shutters to better protect your windows from breaking. The plywood panels can be easily nailed to windows when the storm is about to approach.
- Make your exterior doors hurricane-proof by having at least three to four hinges and a deadbolt lock (at least 1inch long).
- If you have a sliding glass door, replace it with wooden door or tempered glass. If you already have a door made of tempered glass, make sure to cover it with shutters or plywood as these types of doors are much more vulnerable to damage than other doors.
Plan ahead of time in order to avoid any inconvenience. First thing you should plan with your family members is your evacuation route to a shelter, especially if you live on the coast or in a mobile home. While you will surely get instructions from your local authorities, it is much better to have your own evacuation plan ready as well before the storm strikes. Also, don’t forget to take your adorable pets into account in your plan.
Check Insurance Coverage and Take Important Documents with You
Hurricanes also cause floods;this is why you, being a property owner or a renter, should insure your home against flooding. Even if you do not live along the coastline, you should contact your home insurance provider to buy flood insurance.
Most people think that they do not live along the coastline, so they would not need to worry about flooding, but if it can rain heavily, it can flood as well. Also, don’t forget to take important documents with you.
Designate a “Safe Room”
A designated safe room should have no windows and exterior doors, but only a single interior door (preferred). A safe room is one of your best options to survive the hurricane if your home’s integrity is compromised. This place will help you and your family to retreat if the storm becomes too severe.
Have all the essential supplies in this space, in case you are not able to leave the safe room for an extended period of time.
Keep Your Furry Companions Safe, Too
Humans know where to go and what to do if lost, but animals don’t. Being a pet owner, it is your responsibility that you keep your pets safe as well. You can do this by making sure that they have some sort of identification on them in case they get separated during the hurricane. They should have a microchip or a collar with your contact information on it.
Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand
Instead of running for the stores when a hurricane warning is issued, make sure you get ahead of the rush and have
The following emergency supplies beforehand:
- A tactical flashlight – To know more about it, read our article on Best AA Battery Tactical Flashlights
- First aid supplies
- An NOAA weather radio (portable)
- Extra batteries
- Prescription drugs
- Food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or cooked
- Clean drinking water
- Basic tools such as a wrench
- Plywood, heavy plastic sheeting, a hammer, etc. for emergency home repairs
During the Hurricane
The flying debris, heavy rainfall, and rough winds can be terrifying, but
here is what you can do while you wait it out:
- Six-inch deep fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your car or bike away. So, don’t swim, walk, or drive through those stormy flood waters.
- Listen to your local radio stations for current emergency instructions and information.
- In case you are trapped in a building, make sure you go to its highest floor and take shelter somewhere safe there. Do not take refuge into a closed attic as you may become trapped there due to rising flood water.
- If your electricity supply is cut-off, use a generator OUTDOORS and away from the windows.
- If you are trying to find shelter during high winds, go to the nearest FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter or a windowless room on the lowest floor of a building that is not prone to flooding.
- If you are ordered by local authorities to evacuate, you should do it immediately.
- Set your refrigerator to the coldest setting so the food can stay fresh for more time even if the power goes out.
- Once you are in a safe place, call your friends and family to ask them about their situation and tell them that you are okay.
- Do not use matchsticks or candles as there is a possibility of gas leakage.
After the Hurricane
Even when the storm has passed, you should be cautious heading outside for the first time. If there’s moisture in your house, mold may start to grow there. There can be shattered glass outside and broken power lines in the stormwater that can create electrical hazards.
Here are some things you should watch out for when heading outside or returning home:
- The tap water may be unsafe; you should not drink it until the officials have tested the water. To avoid getting sick, use bottled water. Unsafe water can cause outbreaks of salmonella, norovirus, hepatitis A, or E. coli. If you can’t find bottled water, you can boil the tap water for three minutes to kill any bacteria.
- If there is water on the street, make sure there are no broken power lines in it. If you step on the water that is charged by downed power lines, you will get a deadly electrical shock.
- Mold can cause allergies. It grows where there are massive amounts of moisture. Books, clothes, pictures, blankets, etc. are breeding grounds for mold. If such things look like they are moldy, dispose of them just in case.
- Report downed power lines to the officials.
- Last but not least, be patient because things will take some time before they get back to normal.