It may be late in hurricane season, but it’s never too late to know what is needed to prepare for a hurricane. Here are some tips to for those who are on the Gulf and East coasts that at any day during hurricane season may need to prepare for a potential storm.
Know What is Needed
For food and drink, a filter pitcher and/or bottled water is needed for both drinking and possibly for hygiene purposes. In addition, easily store-able and reliable (if not non-perishable) foods such as crackers, peanut butter, canned goods, protein bars, unripened fruit, small snacks such as chips/pretzels and Little Debbies, snack packs, cereal, soy milk, powdered milk, almond and other similar milks such as rice milk, raisins, peanuts, walnuts and other nuts. A manual can opener is necesary for the canned goods. Make sure all vitamins and medicine is not about to run out and replenish them if they are. Additionally, if there are any pets, make sure their food supply is replenished. All hygiene products, especially essential ones such as toothpaste, soap and feminine hygiene products. Toilet paper is another must.
As just mentioned, medicines should be full and easily available in addition to a first aid kit featuring products such as band-aids, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls/Q-tips and hydrogen peroxide.
Plywood is needed for the purpose of boarding up windows but hurricane tape (as opposed to duct tape) is said to be a reliable alternative.
Additionally, a battery operated radio is needed so that the latest news about the storm and what people in your region are being asked to do is available should the power be out. Naturally, batteries are needed to power it as well as a flashlight, both regular and fluorescent (for reading). Candles are needed to help keep the house lit. Every home should have a fire extinguisher for emergency as it is, should something happen during a hurricane. A tree saw and work gloves are necessary for broken tree limbs, should they be present.
Another preparation that needs to be made that bath tub(s), sinks and other containers of the home such as a large garbage can should be filled up with water so that toilet(s) can be flushed and so that each person can take a sponge bath should the water be off. Naturally that means having a sponge and soap around plus a mini-tub to place the sponge and some water in.
Make sure at least one family member’s cell phone is fully charged and have a car charger so that even if the power goes out, then the phone can at least be charged in the car assuming both the car and the ground are not flooded.
A generator would be helpful if the power goes out but MAKE SURE IT OPERATES ON THE OUTSIDE. They emit carbon monoxide, and they can, and have cost the lives of people who did such a thing.
Make Preparations Before They Are Needed
Always better to be prepared before scrambling at the last minute after the newspaper and weatherman mention that hurricane conditions are expected within 48 hours. Not everyone can afford all the items listed at one time but they can be bought over time and for some, stored. Not everyone has a giant living space and room for a hurricane preparedness supply kit, so in that case it’s a good idea to either buy a public storage lot or leave the items at a friend’s house.
It’s also important to resist temptation by not dipping into the supplies set aside for a hurricane when short on cash. That’s easier said than done, particularly in these tough economic times. But if a storm is coming it does beat trying to make a mad dash to the store, where others are looking for the same items and some of them may go out of stock before they can be added to the hurricane supply items at home.
If one has enough money for it, a generator should be bought well before a storm comes.
Fill Up Tank With Gasoline
GAS TANKS SHOULD BE FULL the minute forecasters even hint there may be a chance that a storm may be coming. That way, trying to fill up when it is known a storm is coming is only a matter of topping off. This strategy not only helps save strain on gas stations and oil pipelines so they’re less likely they run out but it also saves stress and time during an evacuation.
If Evacuating, Bring Snacks and Entertainment
As seen during the crazed evacuation of Houston during Hurricane Rita in 2005, roads can turn into parade routes or even parking lots during evacuations. That’s why it’s a good idea to have quick snacks such as chips, soda, bottled water, snack cakes, nuts, etc… handy so that no one gets hungry, especially the kids. Speaking of kids, it’s important to keep them occupied if taking some in the car on the way out of town. Handheld game systems (don’t forget the batteries again), crossword puzzle and game books, and reading material are a must for both passengers and even the driver if the road becomes a parking lot.
Also, once arriving at a shelter and hotel, make sure not to leave too soon. Watch or listen to the news stations in the area, or search the Internet on a phone if it has that feature and make sure it’s okay to return. Otherwise, as was the case in numerous people who immediately came back after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, it can be a waste of gas and time. Those same entertainment options would be a good thing to have.
If Not Evacuating, Don’t Stay in a Low Lying Area
Finally, for those who don’t evacuate and decide to stay, at least make sure not to stay in a building in low lying area. Flooding, in addition to wind, causes much damage during a hurricane and more often than not fatalities are more common due to flooding. There’s something to be said for protecting property from looters but there may not be much to defend when it’s all said and done. Additionally, if that’s the case, it may cost the lives of you and your family.
Hopefully this educated those not used to preparing for a hurricane. Nothing is more important than having the supplies and knowledge needed to weather any storm (pardon the pun) that may come along.