10 Easy Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane - Plus Great Hurricane Photos
During the summer of 2011 I had found myself without power, several times. I was in the dark (dead flashlights and no candles) and had a refridgerator full of spoiling food. Granted, this had been a crazy year for weather in the northeast. The winter snow was relentless, and I witnessed my first tornado right here in Springfield, MA. My pointed being, this all happened before hurricane season. If you don't want to end up like me, follow these 10 steps in preparing for a hurricane.
Please, if your location is evacuated or if you think it is too dangerous to stay, do not rough it out and risk your life, or the lives of your family members. No one likes a stubborn tough guy, or girl. Listen to the warnings and GET OUT. Depending on how much time you have, check as many thing off on the list below as you can, and bail. This is how lives are saved.
1. Check your food and water supply - Don't go out and buy things to fill your fridge with though. Bottled water and dry packaged non-perishable foods are the best in case your power goes out, and your food spoils. You do not want to be stuck in a storm, in the dark, with nothing to eat or drink.
2. Make as much ice as possible - If in the event that the power goes out for an extended period of time, make sure that you have made as much ice as possible in order to keep your food cool and frozen. If the power does go out, I usually place all perishable foods in the freezer to make them last longer. Having a large cooler handy could also be helpful.
3. Check your flashlights - Make sure they all work, and if they don't, go stock up on batteries. Also, gather any candles, matches, and lighters that you have.Also, A BATTERY POWERED RADIO could end up saving your life in the event of a flash flood.
4. Make sure that your cellphone is charged - Whenever there is a threat of a power outage I always make sure that my phone is charged in case I need to place an emergency phone call. Have a car charger handy as well. TIP - Even if the power goes out, land lines will still sometimes work. Phone lines run on their own electricity, as long as they are not cordless phones. You can check this beforehand by unplugging the electricity to you phone and testing it out.
This is what a power inverter looks like
5. Purchase a power inverter or generator - Not needed, but both great to have. Generators are expensive though, you can get a used one for 300 to 400 dollars through craigslist. Power inverters are much cheaper at 20 - 25 dollars, and most of them plug into the lighter socket of a car. That way, if your car is running, you can run a cord from the inverter to your fridge or even a lamp. Also, inverters are avail in many places, online, camp stores, or in places like walmart.
6. Reinforce your entryways - High gusts of wind and floating debris can easily break windows, leaving you with a face full of glass and soaking wet. Make sure you reinforce doors, windows, garage doors, skylights, and fireplace flues. At least close the curtains or blinds, but if you can, reinforce the windows with plywood. Its cheap and easy to cut. And totally worth it.
7. Have cash on hand - Debit cards are absolutely useless when there isn't any power. ATMs don't work, and you won't be able to buy anything at the store. I found this out the hard way once. So make a trip to the ATM before the storm. Make purchases beforehand as well, since most businesses will be closed.
8. Have your stuff ready to go - If for whatever reason you need to leave in a hurry, make sure you're prepared. Place all your important things in or around one bag. Wallet, cash, cell phone and charger, car keys, important documents and phone numbers,MEDICATIONS, first aid kit, a roadmap to your destination, etc. Keep these sealed in a leak proof bag or at least a ziplock. Make sure you know where you're headed, take you pets with you, and always make sure your car gassed up and ready to go if need be.
9. Unplug and move electronics - With hurricanes and heavy rains comes lighting and flooding. Power surges can occur which can damage electronics such as computers (and cause data loss) and TVs. Make sure these are unplugged, and if possible, moved to the highest point in your house in case of flooding. You can also move other items that can get damaged in water, important papers, pictures, or furniture. You can never be too prepared.
10. Prepare your family - Make sure each family member is aware of how dangerous a hurricane can be. If in the event your family needs to evacuate, you don't want anyone left behind or uninformed. Keep cell phones on and stay home with your family.
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