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Hurricane Preparedness; A How To Guide

Updated on July 20, 2013
Hurricane Irene; Projected Path 2011
Hurricane Irene; Projected Path 2011 | Source

You Know It's Coming!

Hurricanes are a very scary thing. Those of us that live in "hurricane hotspots" know this all too well. There are things that need to be done when you know, or at least have a very good chance that a hurricane is headed your way. The first is to NOT PANIC! You need to be able to think clearly and keep things in order. Hurricanes, unlike many other natural disasters, give us a warning that they are coming. We have time to prepare and take precautionary measures.

A home with all of its windows protected.
A home with all of its windows protected. | Source
Hurricane force winds are no joke!
Hurricane force winds are no joke! | Source

How To Prepare Your Home

Whether you plan to ride out the storm inside your home, or if you decide to evacuate, you need to prepare your home for the worst case scenario. The most important thing to consider are windows. Hurricane force winds can potentially pick up large pieces of debris and send them hurling through the air at very fast speeds. A common precaution that people take is to place plywood boards over their windows. Others, who live in areas where hurricanes are a yearly occurrence, will often have specially made shutters placed onto their windows for rapid protection and saving time.

The next thing you need to think about is getting any items out of your yard that have the potential to become projectiles. Put these items in a shed, closed in patio, or even inside your home if you have to.

Now you're ready to deal with the inside of your home. There is not much to do here unless you have a risk of flooding. In which case you want to unplug all outlets and get as much off of the floor as possible. Try to keep things a minimum of one foot above the floor.

Non-perishable food items are a must.
Non-perishable food items are a must. | Source

How To Take Precautions For Your Family

Now that your home is taken care of, it's time to handle the most important things, your family. Make sure you are all on the same page with your plans. Are you staying, are you evacuating? If so, where to? What vehicles will you take? Do you have a place to stay? Are your pets taken care of? Be sure to have enough food to last your family for a few days, just in case you get stuck in traffic or the stores sell out. The best things to have are:

  • non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
  • foods for infants or the elderly
  • snack foods
  • non-electric can opener
  • cooking tools / fuel
  • paper plates / plastic utensils

If you are set on leaving, be sure to pack any prescriptions that family members may be on. Also hygiene items and enough clothes for up to a week. Some of these things seem like common sense, but if you have never been through the frenzy that is evacuating then you don't really know what to expect when it hits you.

Make sure you take any important documents with you as well. If you have them in a portable safe, take the entire safe and hide it whenever you reach your destination. Another important item that many people overlook is cash. If the power goes out wherever you are, credit machines will be out of order.


I hope this information never has to be used, but the harsh reality is that at some point it probably will. Whether it is this post, or another like it, I hope the information that you find keeps your possessions and your family safe. Having lived in Louisiana for 22 years, I know all too well what the potential of these storms are. I live about 50 miles south of New Orleans and had family members who had to be rescued from rooftops after Katrina because they did not evacuate when told to. Please listen to your city leaders and take all necessary precautions. These storms may destroy your home, or vehicle, but do not let it take the life of your loved ones. Most hurricane deaths are 100% preventable if people would listen to the warnings provided to them.

Do you chose to bunker down, or evacuate for hurricanes?

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  • profile image

    gptrahan 6 years ago

    Wow! GREAT information, especially since I am one of those people who made a conscious decision to stay and "ride out" Hurricane Katrina. As I sat in the attic for about 8 1/2 hours I did some soul searching, praying, and reflecting on my life. I couldn't help but to think constantly about my family and how I am sure they were experiencing the same level of fear that I was, just in another capacity. They were wondering if we were alive or dead and floating somewhere in the parish never to be found. Thankfully, that was not the case. We made it out after 4 days of HELL!!! I can relate the conditions of the make shift shelter of last resort could only compare to a Concentration Camp, which I toured in the summer of 2000!

    As we made our way to Houston, Texas to a family member's house, we stopped at the Algiers Point ferry Landing and I made a collect phone call to my parents due to having NO MONEY AVAILABLE and it was the best call I ever made! I could hear the sound of relief in my parents' voice, yet still a sound of concern and worry.

    And then... the rest of our lives officially began.. :)

  • profile image

    Bob shinbag sr. 6 years ago

    Should i bring my meds and my sons insulin also?

  • thebeast02 profile image

    thebeast02 6 years ago from Louisiana

    Great tip, and yes it is quite timely. I was watching the news and got to thinking, you know I bet some of those folks have never had to deal with a hurricane before.

  • kschimmel profile image

    Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

    Timely information for those of us along the coast!

    One tip for pool furniture is to toss it in the shallow end of a pool. The furniture won't blow around. It's a pain to get it out again, but easier than having the furniture go through a window.