Top 10 Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Hurricane season hits us every year like clockwork, but many of us always find ourselves scrambling around trying to prepare days before the storm could hit, (and we always pray that it will miss us by an inch.)
The time to plan for a hurricane is well before it happens. In Florida, we have a hurricane season so we are forewarned. Here are our top 10 tips:
1. Have a plan in case you need to evacuate.
There are some requirements that everyone has – some are specific to you. So as you prepare your plan be sure to take into consideration your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Consider these factors:
- The ages of household members within your household
- Household members that may need special assistance including devices and equipment
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Languages barriers, if any
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Know the evacuation routes
- Be prepared for busy highways and long delays
2. Have a plan if you are staying home.
Some things you can get and keep in storage, other things you may need to buy, but remember, almost everyone else may be doing the same thing and stores begin to lose inventory quickly. Things you normally take for granted: water, food, electricity, available gasoline, the ability to keep things cold or cook all can become premium or unavailable overnight and the worse-case scenario: homelessness due to the destruction of your home, may not even have happened. The rest of these tips mostly have to do with being prepared if you find yourself somewhere between the best-case scenario and the worse-case scenario.
Throughout this article you can find links to effective, and valuable products sold by retailers from Amazon that we, along with numerous other hurricane experts, highly recommend as requirements during this dangerous season. You will thank us later.
3. Stay or Go. Do what you can to limit damage.
Blocking up windows, placing sand bags to protect your home from water damage and removing lawn furniture and other thing that can become projectiles just makes sense. What you live in, or what you come back to, after the storm may depend on this. It is also good to locate your insurance information and make sure you have it available or with you.
4. Plan what to do if you lose power.
When the winds have knocked over poles all over town, it may not be like it is when a transformer goes out. The best thing is to have a generator gassed up and on hand to keep your refrigerator running and some lights on – maybe even the A/C (it’s surprising how hot and humid it can get after lots of rain), but if you are going to do that you need to also have extra gas available. It may take days for power to return depending on how close you are to priority locations and how far out in the country you live. A generator and gas will get you through a lot of the following problems, but it is an expensive proposition.
This generator is highly rated and extremely effective. Remember the last hurricane, where every single store was sold out? Don’t be stuck in that position. Buy a generator now. You will NOT be disappointed!
If you don’t have the budget for this sort of raw power, you can always settle on this old trusty work horse, the highly rated Champion generator.
If you’re on a tight budget and just need something to power up your cell phone and a few simple lights, this energy efficient solar generator can bring you what you’re looking for. Although the gas may be in short supply, after a hurricane, the sun will light things up for you.
If you don’t have a generator be prepared for some hot days and dark nights. Remember there won’t be any television or light to read. After the battery runs down you won’t have your cell phone to entertain yourself on the Internet or the ability to call someone unless you can get to someplace with electricity. There are cell phone power banks you can purchase for charging cell phones. It may be good to invest in one.
5. Plan what to do about light.
Candles are better than nothing, but they burn awfully fast, don’t throw a lot of light, and are a fire hazard. It’s best to make sure you have some sort of lanterns – preferably the fireless kind so you don’t have to worry about flames and fumes. There are some nice ones on the market that throw a bright light – it’s good to get some of those, but do it beforehand, don’t wait until everyone is looking for them and they are all gone. Don’t forget that they take batteries and don’t try to get those in emergency conditions either!
This set of two emergency lights are extremely inexpensive and will be worth their weight in gold during a hurricane.
Don’t forget the AA batteries!
A more “green” alternative is the solar powered lamp. This doesn’t need batteries, and in a prolonged disaster situation, this lamp will save you green on batteries as well. The battery powered lamp is highly recommended, as it produces more lumens (a measurement on light ‘power’).
6. Plan what to do about food and water.
You may not be able to just run out to a restaurant. It may not be financially feasible. The restaurants may be out as well and those that are open may run out of food because everyone is there. So, stock up beforehand – way beforehand – not when the weatherman is telling you the storm is two days away. That is when well-stocked stores become a wasteland of empty shelves with only food that doesn’t look good to anyone left on them. (If you wait that long, buy that food – in a few days it will look good!)
Also, unless you just want to eat hobo style you’ll need to have some way to heat up food. Buy some resource like Sterno or make sure you have charcoal briquettes and a grill or gas for your gas grill, but remember again, it may be days before power is restored.
They may be great for parties outside, but sterno cans will be a godsend during a hurricane.
The same advice goes for water as that of food except you don’t need to grill it. You might need to heat it though for some Ramen style noodle. Get it while the demand is low and store it. Your water may not stop and if it doesn’t – that’s a blessing, but there is no guarantee. If you have well water, no electricity = no water.
The ultimate solution? MRE’s. They’re more than just for members of the military. There’s a reason those “doomsday preppers” choose this brand, they last a while and can make a great meal with something as little as a bit of water. The following are the most trusted and reliable MRE’s you can get. And hey, when everyone is closed, these lasagna meals will taste pretty darn good.
7. Plan what to do about gas.
Funny thing about employers, they don’t usually give you much of a break about coming to work unless it’s a super big emergency and as much as two or three days without power is a pretty big deal to you- they may want you to come to work if they’re going to pay you. So unless work is right next door, you’ll need gas for your car.
The above two tanks both have their pros and cons, but the Tenozek 20L helped countless Europeans during the cold war, and the Balkan conflicts.
Once it becomes apparent that gas is going to be scarce, it becomes really scarce. The best thing to do it fill your tank beforehand and early on because once the storm is almost upon you, the gas stations have already hung their little out-of-gas signs on their pumps and when they get a refill, it goes quickly.
Then conserve gas. Sure, it’s hot in the house and it’s nice to get out and cool down, but, depending how bad things are – you may need the gas – not only for work, but for medical emergencies should they happen.
8. Plan what to do about medications.
This is critical. Drugstores and doctor’s offices, like everyone else, may be closed. Make sure you have enough prescription medication and the medical tools needed, like hypodermic needles for insulin-dependent diabetics. Some of these other things you may be able to suffer through without for a while, but this one can be life-or-death.
The above kits are both useful, but the Adventure Kit can patch up emergencies for over a week.
Manage injury and ailments for 1-6 people on short trips of up to a week with this first aid kit suited to car, basecamp, or backpack duty.
This is another one of those things to do way before you need it. Hopefully you won’t need one, but they don’t spoil. Avoid the temptation to use it for band-aids and such during the rest of the year so that it is not empty when the need arises
10. Plan what to do about letting loved one’s know you are OK
Keep in mind you need to do this right away before your cell phone runs out – at least a quick text. If you don’t have a cell phone – get one – and a battery charger.
This lightweight and portable cell phone charger works miracles when there is prolonged power outages.
During Irma, these were some of the most in demand items, right up with generators. If you need to contact family, this is a must have.
Also, staying in contact with people is important, but also knowing what’s actually going on is key. When there is no power, that means a lot of the time cell phones aren’t going to be working. No getting onto google, facebook, instagram either. So how will you find out the latest news? An old fashioned radio does the trick. AM/FM radio stations are still around, and during major storms, your local news station will partner up with radio broadcasters to give storm updates and phone numbers for emergency services, shelters, etc.
This is why you NEED an affordable battery/solar powered radio to hear from the outside world when you’re hunkered down in your home.
The Solar Choice is recommended as it can inform, and entertain, the whole family.
This affordable battery powered device can work in a pinch.
It’s true you might spend a lot of money getting and storing gas and stockpiling food and water and batteries and the wind may barely make your chimes (which should have been taken inside), ring, but if you need the supplies you will be so glad to have them. You’ll be able to use them after hurricane season and you can pretend you are saving money! Just remember to replenish the supplies before the next storm season comes.