Looks like the frequency at which hurricanes occurs has been increasing in the recent times. The devastation caused by them across many US states – especially the south-eastern costal states – has been quite alarming with a lot of damage done to lives, businesses and the environment.
Though nobody can prevent the damage caused by hurricanes completely, there are ways to be prepared for a hurricane so that the damage and impact can be minimized. It is very important to prepare your home and your life after the hurricane much before the worst hits.
Save your documents & valuables
It’s important that your hurricane preparedness checklist include the preservation of several documents that prove your identity. The following are the hurricane checklist with respect to documents and valuables.
- Take a couple of photo copies of your important documents such as social security card, driving license, property title deeds, family photographs and graduation certificates and store them in strong see-through zip-locker. You have to safely keep them in a place at your home that deems strongest and immovable
- Take a few time-stamped photographs and videos of your home from various angles covering all of the interiors and exteriors and store them in DVDs. You will need these documents as proof for any insurance claim in the future. If you do not have a proper insurance coverage, you are running big risk in a hurricane prone area
- Take a bank locker facility and store all those documents originals and your valuables such as jewelry in your locker
- Install and/or arm your home security system. There are many systems available that can serve as your eyes when you’re not home. Just make sure to price out the system so you understand what comprises your monthly ADT payment.
Prepare your Home
Once the documents are safe, you need to prepare your home for a hurricane depending on the predicted impact of the same.
- Stock up non-perishable food and water: Bad storms and hurricanes can cause damage that can affect food supplies and availability of good water along with delayed rescue operations and shelter facilities. You need to stock up enough non-perishable food, water and other essentials to survive for at least a week to 10 days if the hurricane’s arrival is imminent
- Emergency kit: Next, you need to have your emergency survival kits ready. This includes flashlights, batteries, emergency lanterns, candles, lighters, battery operated radio, ropes, gloves, inflatable floating devices, windcheaters, sleeping bags and enough cash. You may also consider storing some band aids and essential OTC pills. Bad hurricanes usually affect the power supply and hence you need to get prepared for a hurricane hit life without electricity, water and natural gas supply
- Prepare your shelter at home: Once you have your supplies ready, prepare a room in the home that you consider the safest. This has to be typically a windowless room in the ground level floor. If there happens to be a window, reinforce it with plywood and long nails from outside. All outer doors may be reinforced further to prevent any loosening of the same and become dangerous flying objects in the wind. The damage caused by flying objects is even worse. If you have hurricane shutters for your home, the better
- Chop of feeble trees and branches: Outside your house, if there are hanging tree branches or low rooted heavy trees, it is a good idea to chop them off and dispose in a distant place much before the hurricane hits
- Car gas levels: Make sure that your car has at least half tank gas because it may be hard to find an operational gas station in the event of a hurricane. Even if there is one, there may be long queues in emergency. Also, never park your cars under trees
- Plan for your pets: Pets are not allowed in shelter homes and hence you need to plan to keep them in a relative’s place or with a pet caretaker home
- Books, crayons, paper and pencils for kids: In the event of a power failure, kids may not have any entertainment mechanisms like TV, DVD players or games and it may be a good time to play with some crayons, puzzles and even some family indoor games. Be sure to stock up them, especially if you have stubborn kids
Monitor and weather the situation
Even before the hurricane hits it’s important to keep track of the predictions and related news to get to know what measures to take before and during the hurricane. In certain cases, evacuation may be advised in which case you must not take any risk and move your family a few hundred miles away in a relative’s home, shelter or even in a hotel. National Hurricane Center keeps issuing warnings and safety measures for any forthcoming hurricane situation and it’s important for you to listen to them via radio or any public announcements.
And finally, if your decision is to stay indoors, respect that decision at any cost. It may be tempting to videograph or take pictures of the roars and chaos outside but please be warned that many people lose their lives that way. Needless to say, you may not open any doors or windows if at all you have to shoot some pictures from inside but use any glass paneled windows or possible eyelets.