The Atlantic hurricane season lasts through the end of November. Hurricanes can be devastating, with high winds, heavy rain, potential flooding inland and on the coast, and storm surges. If you live in an area affected by hurricanes, it’s important to have a plan in place should one strike. Here are the most important ways you can prepare for hurricanes:
1. Know your evacuation route
Hurricanes often come with several days of warning as the storms form over the ocean and then move toward land. Get to know your evacuation zone and the best route out, so if the call for evacuation is made, you’ll know what to do. Choose a place inland to go should you need to evacuate, whether it’s with relatives, friends, or even a hotel. If it looks like a hurricane is heading your way, make sure to keep up with local news, so you’ll know when you need to evacuate.
Planning for evacuation is important, but sometimes it is not an option. Therefore, you should also familiarize yourself with shelter-in-place options in your area. These could be local FEMA safe rooms or other storm shelters. If it’s not possible for you to evacuate or get to a designated storm shelter, it’s best to stay in an interior room away from any windows.
2. Gather non-perishable supplies and check on them regularly
It’s impossible to know what infrastructure will be down after a hurricane. Power is often the first to be knocked out, leaving many without access to light or important information. Make sure you’re always prepared with enough non-perishable food, water, medication, and backup light and power to last at least 3 days. And don’t forget food for your pets!
Your emergency kit should include:
- Food and water to last at least 3 days
- First aid kit
- Any prescription medications you might need
- Light source (solar lantern, flashlight, candles and matches that you can keep dry)
- Backup power (solar phone charger, batteries)
- Hand crank radio tuned to weather information
- Local road maps
- Whistle to signal for help
Make sure you are checking on these supplies every three months at the least. Replace food and batteries that are expired, and ensure your backup light and power sources are fully charged and working properly.
3. Make sure you’re covered
Check your home and car insurance policies and ensure they include flood protection. Back up your electronics regularly and make sure your important documents are password-protected. Keep print copies of important documents in your hurricane kit.
Prepare your home for a hurricane:
- Clean out gutters
- Check the plumbing to prevent backups and
- Install storm shutters on your windows
- Move your car to a sheltered location
- Cut weak branches or trees