While, thankfully, hurricane Ida is now in the rearview mirror and all is quiet on the weather front, emergency preparedness experts are warning us that we are only at the beginning of hurricane season.
Are you ready for the next one?
Hurricane readiness can save your home, and your life, and even thousands of dollars on homeowners insurance.
Is a Hurricane Headed Your Way?
Florida and Louisiana may be the most common victims of the Atlantic hurricane season, but as we have seen in the last few years, everyone from Texas to the Jersey shore needs to be prepared.
Anyone who has been through a hurricane or has had a home damaged by one will tell you that waiting to prepare until there is a hurricane on the radar isn’t wise.
Get supplies now. Make plans for what you’ll do when the next one hits.
Evacuate or Hunker Down?
If an evacuation order is mandated, then you should absolutely pack up and go. In fact, even if there is a chance a hurricane will hit your area, you ought to get out of town early if you can.
Otherwise, you face becoming trapped and vulnerable in the ensuing traffic jams. Plus, as we have seen during the worst hurricanes of the last decade, it isn’t always the wind and rain that is the worst threat to your safety – often it is the mayhem that follows.
Whether you are staying or going, you need to have your emergency kit ready and be well-stocked on essentials.
Evacuating? Before heading out, do the following:
- Fill up the gas tank in your vehicle.
- Turn off the pilot lights and shut off your gas line
- Turn off the water supply and master electrical breaker
- Secure anything moveable, such as patio furniture and garden equipment, that is outdoors.
- Board up windows or close hurricane shutters.
- Ensure you have cash on hand.
If you plan on staying put, ensure you do the following:
- Buy plywood, aluminum, or steel panels to cover doors and windows.
- Purchase garage door storm braces. Garage doors are the most vulnerable point in the typical home, according to the experts at the National Weather Service. Watch the how-to-install video at youtube.com.
- Cut back large trees that may topple onto the home.
- Secure outdoor furniture and other items that may get tossed during the storm.
What you’ll need if you decide to hunker down:
- Food for three to seven days (don’t forget pet, baby food, and infant formula)
- Plenty of water (at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day)
- Manual can opener
- First aid kit
- Copies of important documents including IDs for all adults and your homeowner insurance policy
- Either a blanket or sleeping bag for each family member
Understand the distinction between a hurricane “watch” and a “warning.”
Check for National Weather Service announcements on TV or radio, or online. Alerts are classified into two types:
- A hurricane watch indicates that hurricane conditions, defined as sustained winds of 74 mph or more, are possible in the designated area. 48 hours before they anticipate tropical cyclone-force winds (persistent winds of 39 to 73 mph) to begin, meteorologists issue hurricane watches.
- A hurricane warning is a more hazardous situation. It denotes that hurricane-force winds are forecast in a specific area. To give residents enough time to prepare for the storm, experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are forecast in the area.
Get approaching hurricane alerts and forecasts by visiting the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center online at nhc.noaa.gov.