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Prepare For Hurricane Evacuation With This Tool and Technology-based Checklist

Updated on November 11, 2015

Sky Before Hurricane Ike (September 2008)

Evening Before Ike Unleashed Its Fury
Evening Before Ike Unleashed Its Fury

Hurricane Evacuation Tool and Technology-based Checklist

The checklist is used in concert with a well-formulated hurricane evacuation and post-hurricane recovery plan. There is more information below to help with your planning. Combine this checklist with a typical hurricane evacuation checklist (like on NOAA website) so that you have enough water, food, your valuable papers (wills, social security cards, passports, power of attorney, healthcare proxy, insurance agent contact info etc.) first aid kit, hand tools and other necessities.

Here are the things you should bring with you to make your life more comfortable while away from home.

  1. 12V Power Inverter with USB (know your car's 12V amperage limit and do not exeed it. If your limit is 10 Amps, then with your 12V car battery you can run 120 Watts. Amps times Volts equals Watts.)
  2. Multi-Prong 12V Splitter with USB (two or three sockets should be plenty - remember that if you are using the USB connections, it counts against your Amp limit. USB is 5 Volts and regular chargers are an amp or so.)
  3. 12V Power Dome with USB (These are multi-function devices that can be used to supply AC or DC power, light, AM/FM radio, car jumping power, or compressed air for tires. Make sure it is charged before you leave and replace the battery periodically.)
  4. GPS Navigation System (Internet may not be available so these are good in case you are in an unfamiliar area or need to take a detour.)
  5. 12 V or USB Portable Fan with Battery (If you are stuck in traffic and running low on gas, a portable fan can be used instead of air conditioning so that you can conserve gasoline. It is also good to have when back at the house if there is no electricity. Consider a misting fan as well.)
  6. 12V Cooler (Some have the ability to heat as well. Keeps your food cool and can be used with the inverter when you are at your destination.)
  7. Solar Powered USB Charger (Focus on the amps that the unit provides. Ones with foldable panels will provide much more power than small panels. Solar energy is quite weak compared to what our devices require so get something that will provide at least 1 to 2 amps.)
  8. USB External Battery (Small portable device that can charge USB devices. 7 or 10 Amp hours is good.)
  9. Portable NOAA Weather Radio (Keep up with any changes with the storm. Some have multiple features such as flashing alerts, flashlight and AM/FM radio. Remember spare batteries.)
  10. LED Headlamp (Wearable so you can work with both hands. I like having a red light as an option so that you can find things in the dark without lighting up the whole room or ruining your night vision.)
  11. All in One USB Charger (Small and plugs into the wall, 12V or can use AA or 9V batteries to recharge USB devices.)
  12. Portable Toilet (For when you are stuck in traffic - pack blankets for privacy.)

There are a few things that I always take with me like plug adapters with a universal power supply (for running various devices like portable fans), hex keys, spare batteries, spare cell phone chargers, headphones, bluetooth speaker, solar-powered flashlights, etc. I have them all in a bag and just grab the bag when we go out of town. A couple of the things on the list may seem like overkill but often are useful when you get back home or for general emergencies.

These things will keep you cool, keep your food/medicine cool, keep your electronics going, keep you safer, be prepared for some emergencies, and take care of nature's calling. Not bad, eh?

Power Inverter With USB

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Adapter
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Car Inverter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Adapter

Good size for the road. You can plug your laptop into it and charge your phones. We even use this in the RV when the generator isn't running.


Tail End of Hurricane Ike

Prepare For a Hurricane Before The Season Starts

Atlantic hurricane or tropical cyclone season starts every year on June 1st but some years have storms that have hit in late May. Begin your planning in the spring and have what you need on hand by the middle of May. It's better to start early since it may be hard to find what you need after a hurricane has started coming towards you.

Since regular hurricane checklists can be found in many places, this article only focuses on the tools and technology required to be away from your home for a while or to live in your home after you return with no electricity, water, internet, etc.

You should consider that you will be stuck in traffic for up to 24 hours and that you won't be able to return to your home for a week or more. I will assume that after 24 hours you will be able to find a place that you can stay that has electricity. Do not assume that you can find items that are often sold out after a hurricane. Most stores only carry a limited inventory and there will be competition for these items if the hurricane was bad and struck populated areas severely.

Remember too that hurricanes do not stop at the coast. Hurricane Ike, for example, damaged roofs in Ohio.

Wagan 400W Power Dome

Wagan Power Dome EX 400-Watt Jump Starter with Built-In Air Compressor
Wagan Power Dome EX 400-Watt Jump Starter with Built-In Air Compressor

This has come in handy many times, even while on vacation and the power goes out. Well maintained it will last for years. The battery is replaceable.


Tree Damage After Hurricane Ike

Just a couple of miles away on the coast of Galveston Bay the damage was extensive.
Just a couple of miles away on the coast of Galveston Bay the damage was extensive.

Formulate Your Hurricane Evacuation Trip Plan

Figure out your hurricane evacuation plans before the season starts so that you are not "winging it" as it is happens. People do not think as clearly when under severe stress as they do normally. It is also easier to forget something when under severe stress. So be in evacuation execution mode when the hurricane strikes instead of evacuation panic mode.

Remember too that hurricanes will tend to curl back toward the east at some point so you probably want to plan to be well west of the hurricane's intended path to be on the safe side. You will probably have a mandatory evacuation route for a period of time so be familiar with that and plan how to get to your planned destination. Also be sure you know your hurricane evacuation zone and follow the local authorities direction on when to leave your for your evacuation. Have faith that they have planned it out so that everyone can get out of harm's way. If everyone farther inland starts evacuating when the people near the coast have been told to leave all you are doing is ensuring that you will be sitting in traffic. If you have the flexibility to leave well early of the planned evacuation, that is a good idea.

Make hotel or camping reservations three or four days before the hurricane is predicted to arrive. Or, see if you have friends or family well out of the hurricane path that you can stay with initially. Keep your car tank more full during hurricane season so that you already have some gas in case gas stations run out. Remember that refineries and oil wells need to shut down if the hurricane comes there way. These are often near the coast or in the water.

Be familiar with how the items that you have bought for the evacuation like a 12V Power Inverter work. Test out everything each year and check expiration dates for food and water. Make notes for yourself since, when under pressure, you may not remember.

Fence After Hurricane Ike

Preparing For Your Return After Evacuation

Hopefully you found a good place to weather the storm and can now return to your home. Check with local authorities before returning. Sometimes there are mandatory evacuation time periods for areas that were hit hard. Think about what you don't have already on hand at home and plan that your refrigerator lost power for a time. Try to find out how badly your neighborhood was hit so you can know what to expect in the way of power, water, and internet. Many of the items on the checklist above can be used to make life more comfortable when you get back.

There are some other things that you can have at home to make your life easier in case you don't have power or water. A generator is a great addition. We have a propane generator since gas may be hard to come by or store easily before a hurricane. Another idea is a portable air conditioner. A marine battery is useful to recharge your cell phones or power smaller items so that you don't need to run your generator all the time. Your generator can run your refrigerator, your portable air conditioner, charge your marine battery, and power a television for example. Plan out what you need ahead of time to make your return comfortable while you wait for power to come back on. ,

Portable NOAA Weather Radio


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