How Do I Prepare for a Hurricane?
It's All On the News...
You’ve been listening to news and the weather forecast is just terrifying.
The local weather man has used the word “hurricane”. He did not use the words “tropical storm”, “nor’easter”, or “inclimate weather”. He said the magic word: Hurricane.
What does that mean? That means your area is going to host something called “a tropical cyclone” and if it were up to you, you’d just rather have it RSVP that it’s not going to come – because hurricanes are bad news. It is characterized by high winds in a counter clockwise direction that followed by rain and thunderstorms. They can produce high waves, storm surges, and sometimes tornados.
Hurricanes are classified from a Category 1 (least dangerous) to a Category 5 (most dangerous). When a storm “graduates” from a tropical storm to a Category 1 Hurricane, it is always cause for alarm as the combination of high winds mixed with water saturation to the earth can cause trees to fall as well as catastrophic damage to lives and property.
Unless you have a safe bunker or storm cellar or a method of evacuation, you’ll most likely need to prepare for this event. Anything you can do to prepare yourself for this is a step in the right direction – and that includes prayer.
Steps You Should Take
If you are in a state where a hurricane has been forecast, chances are that your local governor has already declared a state of emergency. That means you should not be traveling and you certainly won’t be going to work.
Unless the business owner is a certified butt wipe or you are on a critical rescue team, you should not be working. This is typical for state emergencies ranging from hurricanes, natural disasters, and blizzards. Exemptions to this rule would be electrical workers, work crews, road workers, paramedics, hospital workers, doctors, firemen, and, of course, police.
Bottom line: You’re not going anywhere unless you’ve been ordered to evacuate your area.
Now that you’re home, you need to stock up on provisions. Some of the things you should have around for most emergencies. These are items like: canned food, bottled water, flash lights, batteries, candles, matches, first aid kits, rain gear, and a portable radio. If you do not own any of these items, it’s time to buy them before the stores run out of them. Most of these things can be found in a camping or sports equipment store. The first aid kits can be found in any drug store. Food and provisions can be found in the obvious places.
I recommend canned foods because even if you don’t use them during any kind of power outage, you can use them later on and they have a relatively long shelf life.
There is a well held belief that people will need to replenish their milk, eggs, and bread immediately. I think this comes from some need that they must be available if you have small children in the house. Although personally I have never understood this – to me this just seems to be an excuse to make French Toast.
But I digress.
If you have your provisions, you will need to secure things around your property (obviously city dwellers have a different set of rules) and see to the following:
If there are any branches near power lines, if you have the resources to cut them away and can do it safely, see that it’s done.
Garbage cans should either be taken into your garage or secured with rope and tied down.
Any lawn or patio furniture should be brought in or secured.
Your windows should be marked with masking tape. The reason for this is if the wind blows hard enough you do not want glass to fly everywhere within your home. If you have working window shutters they should be locked and fastened. Boarding your windows is also an option.
If you have animals, see that you have a set of carriers ready as well as an overnight bag for each member of your family. Should anything destroy your home, you will need an escape plan as well as a change of clothes. Your pets should be in carriers to make transportation easier. Every car you own should have a full tank of gas and one car should be outside of your garage in the event your garage is destroyed. Of course, if you are a one car household, the decision depends on 1) whether you have a garage and 2) where you feel more comfortable in leaving your car. In this type of emergency, there may be no real safe place.
Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a disaster and where to go. If possible do a fire drill of sorts. Know where the main power switch is to your house and where the master water switch is.
If you own a generator, know how to use it and keep it in a ventilated area. You will most likely need it for a sump pump if you basement or house floods. Do not keep the generator indoor as there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Have your emergency numbers written down before hand – this includes the fire department, police department, paramedics, and power company. Keep you cell phone charged and if the power in your house goes out, use the phone sparingly. If you have an adaptor for your car and you’re out of juice, use to car to recharge your phone.
There are times that people say you should not stress over things, however a hurricane is something you will both stress over and have absolutely no control over. All you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Remember, if you have a family, your house, your car, and your material possessions can all be replaced. If you feel they are irreplaceable, just remember nothing can replace a family member, a spouse, or a pet. This will put everything into perspective.
As I said, there is literally nothing you can do about a high magnitude storm. The only real advice I can offer is to keep calm, prepare, and if worse comes to worst, pray.