Preparing for a Hurricane
Hurricanes are more than just big rainstorms. They can involve winds up to the strength of powerful tornadoes. They can involve deluges of water which cause flash floods. For those who live near the coast, they can also whip up ocean tides to crest far above seasonal norms.
Even if your home is not damaged by the hurricane, your region could still easily lose power for days as trees come down on power lines and pipes rupture. It is critical to prepare for the hurricane before it hits. It may be impossible to get through the streets for several days afterwards.
Here are the Top 10 Tasks you should do when preparing for a hurricane!
1. DRINKING WATER
Have at least a few gallons of NEW sealed drinking water. Be sure to retrieve fresh plastic gallon jugs every year - don't rely on the water you got ten years ago. Keep your water in the closet or somewhere safe. Drinkable water is key. The average person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day to stay healthy. Only a few days without water can cause death. Take water seriously.
2. CANNED FOOD
If the power goes out, your fridge is going to start warming up. Have food that will be edible even several days later on. Canned food is great - things like tuna fish will be edible no matter when you eat it. Of course make sure you have a can opener available too! Think of other types of food you enjoy that doesn't need to be cooked or chilled. Cereal that you eat without milk is great. Crackers do well. Stock up on peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and other nuts. Dried fruits like raisins and cranberries are good. Get sandwich staples like peanut butter and bread that don't need a fridge.
3. NON-ELECTRIC RADIO
Have at least one battery operated radio in the house. Even better, have a radio which can also be powered by a hand crank. I would suggest having two radios in case one radio has issues. Remember, TVs run on electricity and that is often the first thing to go in an emergency. Don't depend on your TV for anything. Have a radio you can ensure will function. Your smart phone will drain its batteries. Your internet service will be out. The radio will work.
Have several battery operated flashlights with fresh batteries scattered around the house. If you're up in your bedroom and have to fumble your way down to the cellar to find your flashlights in the dark, that won't be a good thing. "Seed" your flashlights in various rooms in the house. You never know where you'll be when the power goes out. Even better than a battery powered flashlight, have at least a few flashlights that you can "shake to light". That way you are absolutely guaranteed to work and can then help you find fresh batteries for your other flashlights. NOTE: **DO NOT RELY ON CANDLES**. In every emergency situation there are stories of people whose houses burn down due to candles that tipped over. Don't turn a bad situation into an awful situation. Go with a safe lighting options.
While I recommend having no-battery-needed radios and no-battery-needed flashlights, it's also a wise idea to have a fresh set of batteries in the house as well. That way if it's a long, drawn out situation you don't have to be constantly hand cranking the radio to keep up with the news, and shaking the flashlights and lamps to keep them lit. You want the long term basics to be as easy to maintain as possible. It will help reduce stress levels.
6. FIRST AID SUPPLIES
It's always a wise idea to have basic first aid supplies in the house that are up to date and easily accessible. This includes band-aids, first aid cream, bandages, ice packs, and a small first-aid book with common procedures in it. Don't rely on the web for your information in an emergency. The cell phone towers and internet could easily be down when you need it. If you don't have time to go buy a book, and the hurricane is bearing down on you, spend ten minutes to print out some on line first aid pages and keep them in a folder by your first aid supplies. Again, don't rely on a Kindle or ebook reader. Their batteries could run out. Printed pages never need batteries.
Usually in hurricane weather it's fairly warm out so you don't have to worry about freezing to death. Still, it can get chilly out and you won't have any way to heat the house. Store blankets and warm clothes in the corner of the bedroom so if things do get a bit chilly you can easily keep yourself warm.
8. PET PLANNING
In all of your plans, don't forget to account for your pets as well. Your cats, dogs, and other pets will need to eat and drink. Make sure you have plenty of food and water to take them into account. What if it is completely torrential rain outside and your dog simply won't go out into it? Think up alternative ways for them to handle their bathroom needs in this emergency. Try to remain calm so they can be reassured that everything will be OK.
9. MINIMIZE SHRAPNEL
One of the worst issues with a hurricane is that the strong winds pick up all sorts of items - lawn chairs, patio umbrellas - and turns them into flying shrapnel. This shrapnel then can break windows, punch holes in walls, and even harm or kill people and pets. Get all outside items you can into a safe location or tied down. It might easily be your own home and family that is protected from harm.
Make sure your cars are fully loaded with gasoline. Also, ensure that any other quick maintenance issues that you can address - like oil changes - are done. That way your vehicle is as reliable as possible if you need it for an emergency use. Try to park the cars where they are most safe from falling trees or branches. Speaking of driving away, make sure you have all necessary items gathered together in one spot. That way if you have to leave quickly for an emergency reasons you can grab your keys, license, wallet, medication, and anything else instantly.
BONUS. BOOKS AND GAMES
What will you do if the power is out for 5-7 days? It's best to have a way to calmly pass the time. Gather up some books you've always wanted to read. Get a game or two to play with the family. Lay out a few plans of household cleaning projects that you could tackle during the daylight hours. The more prepared you are for any eventuality, the more calm you will be if you do have a few days without power.
The main key is to BE PREPARED. The more that you cover every base, and know you are set, the more easily you will ride out the emergency.
Reviews of Products I Own
Eaton Hand Crank Radio
Freeplay Hand Crank Radio
Hurricanes in Massachusetts
Hurricane Irene Photos