What’s the best way to prepare for hurricane season?
Hurricane season is upon us, which means it’s time to start readying yourself if you live in an area prone to these storms. Climate change is increasing the possibility and frequency of storms, so it’s important to know how to best prepare. Between making plans, buying supplies and keeping up with the weather, getting ready for tropical storms and hurricanes can be an immensely stressful experience. Still, by taking the time to learn what you need to do, you’ll be better equipped to weather the storm.
How to prepare for a hurricane
Know where you’ll take shelter
Depending on the strength of your home and the severity of the storm, it may be best that you take shelter inside your house. If you take refuge at home, it’s best to stay in an interior room on the first floor with no windows. It can be a good idea to prepare your home for hurricanes in case you end up needing to shelter at home.
Here are some things you might consider doing at home in case you need to take shelter:
Reinforce the windows and doors. Installing storm shutters on your windows is an excellent way to reduce broken glass and flying debris. Traditional storm shutters are made of high-strength metals, but certain fabrics have been designed that work just as well and can be used to reinforce your doors in addition to windows. Adding a deadbolt and door sweep to your doors can help them stand firm and reduce water damage during a hurricane as well.
Trim tree branches. Fallen or weak branches can pose a major hazard during a hurricane. Using a pole saw to remove large branches near your home can reduce the risk of damage from branches.
Secure loose outdoor items. Loose items like lawn furniture can also pose a potential hazard during hurricanes. Securing loose items with bungee cords, rope, tow straps or specialized tie-downs is ideal leading into hurricane season.
Your home isn’t always the best place to take shelter during a powerful storm. You may find yourself needing to use a mass care shelter. Although mass care shelters usually have many of the essentials you’ll need, it’s a good idea to bring an emergency supply kit and non-perishable food with you. Since you’ll be in close quarters with strangers, you may want to bring hand sanitizer or other sanitary items as well.
Make sure you’re receiving emergency alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts can be sent to your phone by state and local public safety officials, as well as the President of the United States. If you aren’t receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts, check with your wireless provider to see if the issue can be resolved.
Hurricane-related emergency alerts are also relayed through the Emergency Alert System via various radio stations, cable television providers and direct-broadcast satellite providers.
Buy emergency supplies
During a hurricane, you may be without power or water, and you may not be able to drive due to vehicle damage, flooded roads or other unsafe conditions. Stocking your home and vehicle with emergency supplies can help keep you and your family safe during a hurricane.
Food and water: An emergency food and water supply is one of the most important purchases you can make before a hurricane arrives. Because you may be without power, it’s ideal to have food that doesn’t expire or require the use of your stove or oven.
Medicine and first aid: If anyone in your family takes vital medication, make sure you have it on hand in case you need to take shelter. You’ll want to have a first aid kit and basic medical supplies as well.
Lights: Since there’s a chance you’ll be without power, make sure you have a good set of flashlights or lanterns, as well as extra batteries.
Generator: A capable generator can help you keep some of your lights and essential appliances on during hurricane season. Generators are often hard to come by after a hurricane, so it’s a good idea to get one before you need it. If an emergency does occur, you may not be able to get out and get more gas for your generator, so you may want to keep one or two gas cans filled as well. Just make sure to properly install and operate your generator to avoid any potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
Fire extinguisher: Rising water can cause electrical systems to spark, leading to fires. Have a reliable fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency.
Be ready to evacuate
You should always listen to local authorities regarding whether you should evacuate instead of taking shelter. If there’s reason to believe a hurricane is coming, it’s a good idea to stock your car with many of the same emergency supplies you’d use in your home (food, water, first aid kit and other items you’d need in an emergency).
Fill your vehicle’s gas tank before a potential evacuation, and make sure your car is parked in your garage or the safest spot available. If you do end up having to evacuate, try to stick to the roads recommended by authorities, even if there’s traffic — other routes could be blocked by debris, flooded or otherwise unsafe.
Prepare your family
Make sure you’ve gone over your emergency plans with your family. Know how to contact each other if you end up separating. According to the CDC, if you have anyone in your household with a disability or special needs, it can be a good idea to speak with a hospital, the health department or the police for advice on what to do if you won’t be able to leave quickly.
If you own a pet, ensure you’ve stocked up on enough food and water to get them through an emergency. It’s a good idea to have a way for them to use the bathroom if they can’t go outside, and you’ll need to find a pet-friendly hotel, shelter or friend’s house to evacuate to if need be. In case of an extended emergency, it isn’t a bad idea to have a first aid kit specifically for your pet as well.
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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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