“Hurricane is a severe climatic condition accompanied with extremely low pressure and storms. They mostly occur in tropical regions. A typical hurricane can have a wind speed of 74 to 155 miles per hour with the storms rushing from 4 to 6 feet to as high as 18 feet respectively. Hurricanes are life threatening and through flooding, strong winds and tornadoes that occur as a result of a hurricane there are a lot of losses incurred in terms of life and property. The only way to effectively deal with a hurricane is to prepare for it well in time so that nature does not catch you up off guard.
Here are a few tips on how to ensure that you are well prepared for the weather:
- Family Disaster Plan: It is important to be aware of the impending weather conditions and then sit down with your family to discuss the future course of action. You must write down the Family Disaster Plan suggested by National Hurrican Center and discuss it with all your family members well before the storm approaches. Here is what the plan must include:
– The family must know if their home lies in the danger zone exposed directly to the hurricane or not. The awareness will help in concocting effective alternatives and in time to execute them.
– Try to figure out your zone and if you are in the danger of being affected by the hurricanes, take measures accordingly. If your home is located near a water body, it will be a wise choice to gather your essentials and move to a safer abode till the weather conditions get back to normal.
– Before leaving you must figure out where you are headed. Assess the danger of hurricane in the place you are going to.
– Equip yourself with an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio with an extra pair of fresh batteries. The radio will help you in being updated about the weather conditions and the changes at all times.
– Join hands with all your family members to create a hurricane kit before the hurricane occurs. Keep the ease of accessibility of the hurricane kit in mind while preparing it. Also, you must easily be able to carry it around in case a situation comes where you need to leave your home and go to a safer place.
Here is a list of items that you must have in your hurricane kit.
- Blankets and pillows: It is a must to have these essentials in your kit. Stock them according to the number of members of the family. A suitable and much convenient alternative is sleeping bag. They are properly insulated and eliminate the need for a blanket. They also occupy lesser space than a blanket and pillow combined.
- First Aid Kit: Since you and your family are going through rough weather and the possibility of you getting trapped in your house for a long duration is very high in the event of occurrence of a hurricane; you must stock up your medical supplies. An updated first aid kit will be helpful in treating minor injuries in case of an emergency. Here is a list of must haves in your first aid kit
-Latex or sterile gloves (at least 2-3 pairs)
-Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
-Adhesive bandages in all shapes and sizes for injuries on different parts of the body
-Eye drops and eye wash solutions for decontamination of the eye
-Prescription medications that include insulin injections, and asthma inhalers among others. Keep a track of the expiry date of all the drugs you buy.
-Equipment to monitor your blood pressure and glucose
-Prescription eye glasses (extra pair)
-Prescription eye lenses
If you have a baby, then you need some extra preparation and supplies to take care of his or her needs during the isolation time. The supplies include:
-Diaper rash ointment
- Toiletries: Stack up your kit with the essential toiletries that you just cannot go without and consider avoiding unnecessary grooming items.
– Sanitary napkins and tampons
– Body wash
– Fresh Towels
– Cleansing Soap
– Shaving cream and razor
- Electronic items: Make a list of all the electronic items you own and then tick the ones you think are suitable and convenient for you to add to the hurricane emergency kit. It must include the following:
– Power charger
– GPS device
– Extra pair of fresh batteries
Instead of flashlights you could also consider glow sticks. They do not require any external battery, give out a bright neon light enough to compete with the flashlight and have a long storage life. OR consider keeping them as an extra. They will hardly take up any space and will be your savior when both the batteries die out.
- Money: The head of the family must collect all the valuables that include money and credit cards because wherever you go you might need little money to survive. ATMs might be out of order so don’t rely on them.
- Important Document: Since you are preparing for the hurricane emergency in advance you have the time on your hands to realize that it is essential to pack all the important documents. Every member of the family must be made responsible for their documents. The important documents include:
– Identity Card
– Formal Education Documents
Pack them all in a water tight plastic bag so that they don’t get destroyed by the hurricane.
- Fuel: Get your vehicle’s fuel tank filled completely depending upon the situation. Even if you reside in a safe zone where minimal to no effects of the hurricane are going to be observed, you never know when the conditions might change, and you might have to move out as soon as possible. Also, you might need to drive for a long duration with no gas station for long distance.
- Food and Water: These are the two ultimate essentials where most people make mistakes. Instead of just filling your house up with all the food and water supplies you can gather you must consider that fact that you are preparing an emergency kit that you might have to take along when the conditions worsen. Will it be possible for you to take a fridge full of packaged or canned food? How long will it even last? What about water? One person needs a gallon of water each day. How many gallons will you carry and how long will that last? You can make an assumption of being in a safe place in 3 to 7 days, but that is only an assumption. You must prepare yourself for the worst.
A much better option is MRE or meals ready to eat. These are food supplies for the military that have specifically been designed to help you survive in adverse conditions. Here are a few characteristics of civilian MREs which will help you understand why comparatively expensive but a much better option they are over canned and packaged food.
– They are hermetically sealed in an isolated environment that helps them in retaining their nutritional value for a long time
– A single pack of MRE contains meals for the entire day: breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. They also contain desserts and beverages.
– MREs come with their water supplies for the day
– MREs are made rugged for disaster. MREs are impact- resistant
– You do not need to heat an MRE before consuming it. They come with a self-heating system that becomes active as soon as you open the MRE box and press a switch.
– They last from 3 days to even a years.
– They have their eating utensils including a fork or a spoon.
In short, MREs are self-sufficient, and once you have stocked yourself up with MRE packs, you don’t have to worry about anything else when it comes to food and water.
Hurricane preparedness also involves figuring out the safe place where you want to go.
- If possible, the family should leave the hurricane prone immediately as soon as the officials announce an order to leave the area. Once the condition worsens you will be stuck and will have no option to leave.
- Once you leave, aim to reach to a place that is safe from the danger of the hurricane.
- It is never safe to be in an open area during the hurricane because due to the high-speed winds, and the thunderstorms here are high chances of you getting knocked off by a flying object.
If your home is in a zone where the effect of the hurricane will not be that severe, then you should take some precautionary measures to protect your house against the after-effects of the hurricane.
- The first step that you must take to protect the house during the hurricane is to cover all the areas. Buy a hurricane shutter and install it at your home before the hurricane approaches.
- Other areas of the house such as the doors, windows, straps and garage shutters must be reinforced before the hurricane approaches.
- If you are going to keep your pet with you during the storm and take it with you when you leave the house in case, the storm worsens, make sure it has an ID card around its neck. The card must contain your contact information so that if the pet gets lost it can be traced back to you.
- If you are going to stay in a hotel during the storm, then you must do your research to know if the hotel allows pets to stay or not. Some hotels, no matter what the conditions, have a strict “”no pets allowed”” policy
- If you have pets in the family, then you need to take extra measures to stock up their supplies too because you might not have the chance to go out once the storm hits. If there is an option of sending them to a safer place, a relative’s house or a shelter up until the storm subsides then you must do that. The emergency kit for a pet must include the following items:
– Necessary medication
– Food and water in a quantity that must last for at least a week
– Bed and toys of the pet IF there is enough space
– A recent photograph of your pet, in case it gets lost you can use the picture to ask people to identify them.
No one can control a natural disaster. What you can control is how you prepare for it.”