American southern states as far west as Texas, even all the way up as far north as New England face the threat of tropical weather from July through November. The official start of hurricane season in the Atlantic is June 1, but as the summer fades into fall, the threat of severe tropical weather looms large for millions of Americans. This leaves many people around the country asking, what can I do to prepare for a hurricane?
If you are one of the many people who live in these areas, having a basic hurricane preparedness plan is essential to you and your family’s safety.
Have an evacuation plan
When the evacuation order comes in, follow it! Evacuation orders should not be taken as suggestions. The disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was mostly due to the evacuation order not being issued until 24 hours before the category 3 hurricane made landfall. Families were caught offguard and unprepared for such a large scale evacuation in one of the largest cities in the country.
Know where you will be going, know the forecasted path of the storm and get as far away as possible. Coordinate with family members who live around the country to arrange stays on short notice or have a budget ready for an extended hotel stay. Keep your gas tank as close to full as possible and keep a small store of cash in your vehicle.
Have a way to communicate with your family and loved ones other than a cell phone
Hurricanes can (and will) knock out power and cell phone networks. A crank-powered NOAA weather radio like the Midland ER310 or ER210 can keep you informed when the grid goes dark. A pair of two-way radios can also keep you connected if cell towers are affected by the high winds that accompany hurricanes.
Call your insurance company
If you do not have flood insurance and can afford it, call your insurance company and buy it. It can save you thousands of dollars. If you cannot afford flood insurance, call your insurance company to double check what is and is not covered by your renter’s or home owner’s insurance.
Prepare a disaster kit
Make sure you have the basics:
- 2-3 days worth of food and water
- A flashlight
- Device chargers
- First aid kit
Prepare your home
Remove anything from your property that could be turned into a windblown projectile and store it inside your home. Lawn furniture, garbage cans, etc. Board up windows (5/8″ exterior grade wood or marine plywood) and make sure your storm shutters are properly closed. Trim trees around your home and keep potentially dangerous items like propane tanks and lawnmowers outside after properly securing them.
For more detailed information on developing an extensive hurricane preparedness plan for you and your family, visit Ready.gov.