Living along the coastline has its perks and is a dream for many. Research shows a link between good health and living near the coast. Living near any coast, however, requires you to have a hurricane preparedness list. A hurricane is an enormous storm system forming over water and moving toward land with heavy hail, rain, high winds, and floods.
The top priority for preparing for a hurricane checklist should be ensuring you and your family are safe. Knowing the possible risks and how you can handle them in advance could save your lives. A hurricane preparedness checklist could also preserve and protect your property. Your level of preparedness may also reduce the hassle you encounter after the storm.
How To Stay Safe During a Hurricane
Knowing what to and not to do during a hurricane keeps you safe and allows the emergency responders to assist you and others. What should you do during a hurricane? How do you stay safe during a hurricane?
Stay inside unless instructed otherwise
If your home is safe from flood risks and wind, staying sheltered is your best option. Do not go outdoors or drive during the storm. Stay in the strongest parts of your home, and avoid staying close to windows.
Stay ready for evacuation
There’s always a likelihood of an evacuation order during a hurricane. Prepare a go-bag of hurricane emergency resources. The bag should include provisions for loved ones with special needs and pets.
Unplug appliances and switch circuit breakers off
Disconnect all your natural gas appliances. Remember outdoor equipment like pool heaters and gas grills.
Stay updated with emergency information
The Internet and television may not be available. Keep your hand-crank or battery-powered radio close by.
Evacuate when instructed
When instructed to evacuate, avoid congestion by doing so immediately. By quickly responding to the instruction, you also get your family out of harm’s way faster.
Brave the storm by hunkering down
- Close all the storm shutters on windows
- Bring in any outdoor pots, toys, furniture, or other objects.
- Seek shelter from the high winds in an interior room or designated storm shelter within your home
- Turn off or unplug all the major appliances if you have lost power to prevent damage from power surges.
- If your home appears in the way of an oncoming flood, switch off the electricity at your main breaker.
- If you are trapped by flooding in your home, move to the highest available level. The highest place should be anywhere other than an enclosed attic, as it could trap you.
- Use battery-powered flashlights for light, not candles.
- Do not attempt to swim, drive, or walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of the fast-moving water to sweep you off and a foot off the water to sweep your vehicle away.
How To Prepare For A Hurricane
So news stations have announced that a hurricane is approaching; what next? What can you do to prepare for a hurricane? What should you do before a hurricane? Here is a hurricane preparation guide:
Make an Emergency Plan
- You and your family need to discuss and make a plan. Ask yourselves, ‘how can you stay safe during a hurricane’ in light of your housing situation.
- Write down all the emergency contacts, keep them near all phones in the house, and save them in your phones too. Next, create a shopping list for hurricane preparedness and buy them.
- Next, identify the closest shelters and different routes to get there. You should know the fastest way to get there if you’re asked to evacuate. Remember to check for pet-friendly shelters like hotels or friends and relatives out of town that can agree to take your pet in after an evacuation.
- Go over the emergency plan with the family. Then stay updated on the storm. Check online, listen to the radio, and watch tv for updates. Call the police, public health department, or hospital about special needs. If you or a loved one is disabled or elderly and cannot vacate quickly, seek guidance on what to do.
- If you have farm animals and pets, put them in a safe place.
Hurricane Prep Supplies
What do you need for a hurricane? You will require some supplies to stay healthy and safe during and post-hurricane. Hurricanes can cut off water and power supply. Driving in hurricanes is also unsafe because the roads could be blocked or flooded.
The following are things to have for hurricane season:
- Emergency water and food supply
- Emergency medicine supply
- Power sources like flashlights with extra batteries.
- Essential documents include passports, medical documents, personal identification, and wills.
- Fire extinguishers, and ensure the whole family knows where it’s located and how to use it.
Prepare Your Car
- Cars are essential, especially when asked to evacuate. Fill your vehicles’ gas tanks and move them under cover or in your garage. Always keep emergency kits in your car with all the hurricane prep supplies.
Hurricane Home Preparedness
- If you’re not asked to evacuate, you need to know how to prepare a house for a hurricane. Clear your yard and free it from anything that can blow around in the storm and damage your home.
- Move any propane tanks, building materials, grills, lawn furniture, and bikes inside your house or under the shelter. Part of hurricane home preparation is to be prepared to switch off your power. You will need to evacuate if you spot downed power lines or floods.
- Cover your doors and windows. One pro tip on how to prepare windows for hurricanes is to nail pieces of plywood or use storm shutters on the outer side of the frames to protect the windows. The tip also protects you from the dangers of shattered pieces of glass.
- Ensure you have checked your carbon monoxide detector’s health and replaced its batteries. Fill your water containers with water as the water supply may be lost during the storm. You can also fill your bathtubs and sinks with water for cleaning and washing.
Stay Ready For Evacuation
- How can you protect yourself from a hurricane? What to do before a hurricane also includes preparation for evacuation. Stay informed by listening to authorities. If instructed to leave your home, do not ignore the order. Even the sturdiest and most well-built buildings cannot always hold up against intense storms.
- Contact the local emergency management offices to find out if they provide accommodations for people and their pets. If you need to evacuate, grab your hurricane prep supplies and focus on your needs. Carry a cell phone, medicines, chargers, and identification. If you have the time, unplug your appliances—turn off the electricity, gas, and water.
- When driving in a hurricane, always follow the routes recommended by emergency workers, even when there’s traffic. Other routes are probably flooded or blocked.
RV Hurricane Preparation
While it is not safe or advisable to seek shelter in an RV during a hurricane, it may be a lifesaver after the storm has passed. Here’s how to prepare an RV for a hurricane:
- If you still can, remove any nearby items like loose branches to prevent them from damaging your RV
- Empty holding tanks and fill them and any other tanks with fresh water to add the weight needed to hold down the RV
- Anchor the RV with stabilizing jacks
- Install hurricane window clips and slide plywood into them to protect your windows
- Shut all the windows and doors to prevent wind and water from getting inside
- Seal all your essential documents by placing them in waterproof containers and bags
- Stock up the RV with essentials for a hurricane.
- Create an inventory of all the things in your RV
- Store extra batteries, phone chargers, duct tape, garbage bags, and other necessary tools in your RV
Here’s a comprehensive video guide on Hurricane Preparedness from The Weather Channel.
How To Keep Safe After A Hurricane
The hurricane is over when the authorities have confirmed it has passed and is safe to go outdoors. Only then can you step out to assess any damage to your property and home? Here’s how to stay safe in a hurricane’s aftermath:
- Stay out of floodwater by following warnings on the flooded roads. Do not drive in any flooded one; the vehicle could be swept away, stall, and even sink in the water. Wear a life jacket if you have to be close to or inside the flooded water. Wash with soap and water, or use alcohol-based sanitizer or wipes after being floodwater.
- Floodwater may contain substances that can harm your health, from dangerous chemicals to germs, livestock, human waste, downed power lines, and many other contaminants.
If any device was plugged in, do not attempt to use it. Turn off your house’s main power breaker and wait for an electrician to check the appliances before using them. If the power is still out, use the flashlights in your supply. Do not use candles, as they can quickly start a fire.
- Stay away from damaged buildings. Wait for the local authorities to confirm that they are safe. If you hear unusual noises, leave your home immediately, the noises could signify a near collapse.
- Watch out for power lines by avoiding fallen lines or those overhanging overhead. Make sure to report the fallen lines to the electric company.
- Wear long-sleeved items, pants, and boots outside to protect yourself from insects, and use bug spray. Report any wild animals sported to 911 or your public health department.
Hurricane Preparedness FAQ
Is there a difference between a hurricane ‘warning’ and a ‘watch’?
A hurricane warning is issued when you expect a hurricane within 36 hours, while a watch is issued to signify the possibility of hurricane conditions within 48 hours. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible, while warnings indicate the conditions are expected.
Which states are prone to hurricanes?
There are several states in the United States that are particularly prone to hurricanes. These states are located in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
These states are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes due to their geographic location, as well as their proximity to warm ocean waters and the Gulf Stream, which can fuel the development and intensification of hurricanes.
What are sandbags for during a hurricane?
Sandbags are a simple but effective way to reduce or prevent the damage caused by floodwater. During a hurricane, you can use well-filled sandbags to divert the moving water by acting as a barrier. Use sandbags to direct the water around instead of through your home. It may not be a water-tight seal, but it does the trick in most situations.
What are the warning signs of a hurricane?
Heavy rainfall falls about eighteen hours ahead of a hurricane. The ocean swells days before a storm, with the waves hitting the shore every nine seconds. In around seventy-two hours to a hurricane, the ocean can swell to six feet in height. Another prominent warning sign and how to know a hurricane is coming is the extremely high wind speed.
Do you have to evacuate during a hurricane?
Listen to the authority’s directives on how to stay safe during the storm. If the precedent impact is high, they may direct that you evacuate and do so immediately. If you are asked to remain indoors, follow our guidelines on staying safe in a hurricane.
Staying safe in a hurricane largely depends on how prepared you are for the ordeal. You need to know how to communicate during a hurricane, how to get your house ready for a hurricane, apartment hurricane preparedness, and have a hurricane preparation checklist. Learn and teach your family how to prepare for a hurricane.
Hurricane Emergency Resources
- Hurricanes | Ready.gov
- Hurricane Preparedness | Red Cross
- Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms | CDC
- What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane | National Weather Service
- National Hurricane Preparedness | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Hurricane Planning and Response | FEMA.gov