Hurricanes are intensely destructive storm systems that form over oceans before hitting land. Hurricane season starts on May 15th for the north Pacific and June 1st for the caribbean area. It lasts though November 30th. Hurricanes can trigger landslides, tornados, and deadly floods, so it’s important to be prepared for them. They are classified into five categories:
Hurricanes approach land relatively slowly, so you will have at least 24 hours to prepare for them. Stay regularly updated from news and weather reports since the hurricane’s path might change, and make sure that you know where the nearest emergency shelter is. And of course, have keep your bug-out-bag ready and take every available opportunity to evacuate to avoid natural disasters.
Having an evacuation plan can be life saving, so design one ahead of time and make sure that you’re family knows it as well as you do. Also make sure that you’re vehicle is kept under sturdy cover and that it’s gas tank is full before the storm hits. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency vehicle kit prepared.
Prepare for power outages by stocking up on flashlights, batteries, candles, and wool blankets. You can also keep a generator and plenty of fuel ready to power your home. Write down any important phone numbers and insurance info in case you can’t charge your phone or laptop.
Be sure that you have prepared a good supply of food and water in case you get stuck in your home. Also make sure that you have plenty of medical supplies, personal hygiene supplies, and things to pass the time, such as board games. Remember that you will want to be prepared well ahead of time since store shelves become barren before a hurricane. Updating and rotating your stock should be done regularly and especially around the start of hurricane season.
If you are stuck outdoors as a hurricane approaches, look for a cave or outcropping that can provide shelter. Be careful around dead trees and other objects that might topple from the high winds. You can also seek the leeside boulders or other large objects, but remember to stay low and protect your head with your arms. You can also find a ditch to take refuge in.
If you will remain in doors during a hurricane, make sure that you have plywood or steel panels on hand to board up your windows a day or two ahead of time. Do this task as soon as possible since it will be more difficult as wind speeds increase. You can use wood for anything up to a category 2 storm, but steel panels are recommended for anything higher.
Make sure that the building that you’re taking refuge in is structurally sound and secured to the ground. Make sure you stay in a small room like closet or hallway and stay on the lowest level. If you’re in a basement, you may need to be prepared for flash flooding. Stay under a table or other secure object to avoid being hit with debris.
Remember these tips to stay safe:
Compared to many other natural disasters, the silver lining of hurricanes is that you will have plenty of time to evacuate or prepare for them. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, remember that your safety is up to you–don’t rely on institutions and government to be ready for you since hurricane Katrina showed how foolish that is.