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How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Updated on October 9, 2013

Learn How to Get Ready For Hurricane Season

Are you prepared for a hurricane hitting your home? If you live in a hurricane prone area, such as the Gulf of Mexico, you should be. Learn what you need to do to prepare for hurricane season, and make a hurricane safety plan for your family.

Do you know what supplies you need to have in your home if a hurricane strikes? How do you prepare a small business for a hurricane? Make sure that you know how to take care of your pets and other animals in the event of a hurricane.

Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30 every year. Hurricanes traditionally strike the south eastern United States, particularly near the Gulf of Mexico as well as Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Preparing Pets and Animals for Hurricanes

People with pets or livestock need to take special care in their emergency preparations for their animals. If you have pets, you need to make a plan for their care in the event of a hurricane.

Buddy System. Make arrangements with a friend who also has pets to check in on each other's animals in the event of emergency.

Shelters. Find out which shelters in your area accept people with pets. Not all shelters will allow you to take an animal inside.

Hotels. Not all hotels and motels accept animals either, when you plan your evacuation route, bear in mind which places will allow you to stay with your pets.

Photograph your pet. Before you depart your home, take new photographs of all of your pets. Make sure the photographs show the animal clearly, and capture any identifying markings or features. If you get separated from your animals, you can use them to identify your pets, make missing animal signs, or post to social media.

Medical records. Keep current copies of your pets vet records in case of an emergency. Have a hard copy printed out, and stored in your survival kit in case there is no electricity, and a digital copy emailed to yourself or in cloud based storage that can be remotely accessed.

Scared animals. A bad storm is frightening for your animals, and will cause them to get scared. Bring them indoors, and prepare for them to be on their worst behavior.

Emergency Kit. The most important thing you can do to prepare your pet for an emergency is to put together an emergency kit. The kit needs to contain a kennel for each animal for transport and in an emergency shelter and a copy of the owner's emergency contact information and a copy of the medical history, particularly relevant vaccines, of each animal. You need to have enough pet food and fresh drinking water to last for several days. Canned food is preferable to dry kibbles because the animals may be dehydrated. Litter or old newspaper is useful for the pets to use for the restroom, especially if you intend on sheltering in place.

Leash and kennel your pet. Even a superbly trained pet will behave strangely after a storm, because it is a very unnerving experience for them. It is also important to keep the animals on a leash when walking, even in your yard, because wild animals such as snakes may be displaced from the unusual weather.

Livestock. Livestock have special considerations. Make sure you have all pertinent documentation about the animals, and a thorough evacuation plan. It will be necessary to make arrangements in advance for trailers and emergency shelters. They will all fill up fast after the announcement of a storm, it is best to make arrangements beforehand. If you only have one horse, make arrangements with the people where you stable, or other livestock owners in your area to have your animal included with their evacuation. Working together and planning ahead will help ensure access to limited resources.

Cone of Uncertainty

The cone of uncertainty is the projected path of the hurricane. When tracking the path of the hurricane several days out, it is not clear which way the hurricane is going to travel, making it impossible to pinpoint where on shore the hurricane is going to touchdown. The swath that the cone of uncertainty covers is sometimes 300 or 500 miles across, making evacuation planning difficult. As the hurricane approaches the shore, the cone of uncertainty shrinks, making it more clear which cities will be effected. Unfortunately, by the time the cone of uncertainty is narrowed down, it may be too late to begin an evacuation, especially for the elderly.

Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane

Before the hurricane hits, you need to prepare your home.

Board any windows if you have the ability to still do so. If you do not have plywood, use clear packing tape to secure the windows from shattering everywhere.

Move any items to the second floor, or on top of other furniture on the first floor.

Make sure all electronics are turned off and unplugged.

Keep all pets indoors, the unexpected weather may make them act strangely.

Park your cars under a covered area, if possible.

The WaterBob

When preparing for a hurricane, you should have at least one gallon of fresh drinking water per person per day, for at least seven days. This is in addition to water that you should have to flush your toilets and be able to wash up.

Buying and storing that many gallon bottles of water is expensive, and cumbersome to store.

Many people use their bathtubs as a method of storing water during a hurricane, which can save a lot of money and extra space. However, using the bathtub to store emergency drinking water can have its problems. Usually after a few hours the drains start to leak, so the water begins to go away. Also, the tub probably wasn't clean enough for the water to be drinking water and the last thing you want to do during the limited time that you have to prepare for a hurricane is to try and sterilize your bathtub.

Having your hurricane emergency drinking water stored in a WaterBob is also a great solution if you have children or pets who might be tempted to jump into the water to swim or drink, making it unusable for others to drink.

If you live in a hurricane prone are and have a bathtub you should order a WaterBob in advance, so if an emergency situation arises unexpectedly you can fill it up and have plenty of emergency drinking water for your family.

Prepare your business for a hurricane

If you own a business, you need have a plan in place for your business to get through a hurricane. Take in mind the following considerations:

Make a company plan and include your employees. Make sure your employes know the company emergency plan, and are sufficiently trained. Make sure that it includes how they will secure the company building, and get home quickly to take care of their families and loved ones.

Insurance. Research appropriate hurricane, flooding, and business interruption insurance plans and decide if one of them is right for your business.

Phone tree Establish a telephone tree system that includes all employees and their families. Make sure that everyone understands how to use the phone tree, and and the emergency contact information is current. This way if an employee is missing after an emergency, the proper authorities can be notified promptly.

Back up data. Scan all important documents and crate a digital back up your entire computer system. Make sure that the data is backed up off site, in case all of the hard drives get wet. Confidential information needs to be stored in sealed plastic tubs, or locked file cabinets to prevent them from being blown around.

Secure the building. Ask available employees to help you secure the building, but be sure to allow them plenty of time to assist their families as well. Tether rolling office chairs, or put them on their sides, so they cannot roll around in high winds. Make sure all electronics are turned off, unplugged and placed away from the floor or windows.

Hurricane Preparedness Supplies

What do you need to stock up on to prepare for a hurricane?

You need to have some supplies in advance of an announcement of a storm. Once a storm announcement is made, it is difficult to obtain everything.

Do not drive your vehicles with the gas tank almost empty. Make sure you always have enough gas in the event of a storm.

Keep several days worth of non-perishable food in your home, and a can opener. The food in your fridge will begin to spoil without power, and you will want to start with eating that.

Stock up on drinking water.

Know where your flashlights are, and make sure that you have plenty of fresh batteries. If you are planning on supplementing your flashlights with candles make sure that they are unscented and away from fire hazards.

Video of Sandy

Guestbook Comments

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    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      So true. Good tips here, from someone who lives in the Gulf Coast of FL.


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