The following article is a guest submission from Carlee about getting prepared for a Hurricane, a timely submission based on the fact that I spent some time last week ensuring that I was prepared for this very type of event.
Get Ahead of the Coming Storm
Years ago hurricanes were storms that only the Deep South had to worry about. Not anymore. Whether or not you believe global warming is real or a political ruse, the fact is the ocean temperatures are increasing. The eastern seaboard and the gulf coast are particularly vulnerable. But with warmer oceans, the threat for damaging hurricanes extends all the way into the Northeast, where places like Vermont have suffered extreme flooding.
Add to the mix the growing population along the coasts and, as we’ve witnessed in recent years, you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I went down to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina to help with cleanup and witness firsthand the destructive power of a hurricane. To put it mildly, I was awestruck by the devastation. It showed me that natural disasters are nothing to take lightly.
But we can prepare for these storms and ‘weather’ them successfully if we prepare ourselves ahead of time. As preppers, we should never allow ourselves to be caught unaware when Mother Nature throws one of her tantrums. Like any adversarial condition we may face, we should learn about hurricanes now so that if we find ourselves in the path of one, we won’t be unprepared.
Make your preparations a family affair. Sit everyone down ahead of time and make sure everyone’s involved. Prepare your plans and make sure everyone understands what to do. Even give your children responsibilities, with the proper oversight. You usually only have a few days at the most to know that a hurricane is barreling down on you, so get organized ahead of time.
Know where your local evacuation routes are located and where local storm shelters are. If you evacuate and have young children, make sure they carry identification and contact information. Have an out of state relative or close friend act as a contact person for everyone in the family in the event you get separated and can’t contact each other locally.
Make sure the needs of elderly friends and family will be taken care of. If necessary, register family members with special medical needs at the local shelter ahead of time. Don’t forget about the needs of your pets as well.
Make sure you have plenty of cold, hard cash on hand. Most likely the power will be down, which means many stores, gas stations, etc. won’t be taking debit or credit cards.
Food and Water
The American Red Cross suggests you keep at least three days’ worth of water and nonperishable food on hand. After my experience with Katrina in Mississippi I would err on the side of caution and suggest increasing your supply of food and water to at least a week. Nonperishable food will keep for some time, so if you don’t need it immediately it will get used eventually.
Make sure you have flashlights, batteries, and a portable radio, preferably battery or wind up (self-powered). If you take medications, make sure you have at least a week’s worth on hand. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand.
Gas up your car and fill up any spare gas containers you have. If you have a portable generator make sure you are familiar with its safe operation.
Prepare the Exterior
Bring inside anything that can be picked up by the wind. This includes lawn furniture, decorations, planters, and the like. If you have shade awnings and don’t want to see them turned into sails, fold them down securely or put them away as well.
If you pay attention to the veterans of hurricanes, you’ll notice they have pre-cut and labeled plywood pieces ready for quick window covering. Use ¾ inch exterior grade plywood, not OSB, at a minimum. It’s amazing what a projectile pushed by 100 mph winds can do to a house.
Make sure that anything that can hold a charge is fully powered. The first thing that comes to mind is likely your cell phone. But also make sure other devices are charged as well. This includes things you might not think of as important, such as a power drill or electric razor. Keep in mind that you can’t be over prepared.
Also important—turn your refrigerator and freezer down to the coldest settings and avoid opening them unless absolutely necessary to ensure that your food will last longer if the power does go out. And pack them full if possible. An empty freezer warms faster than one full of frozen items. If you have room, freeze water containers.
Make sure you unplug your small appliances, computers, and other electronics. Turn off propane tanks. If you are evacuating and think your house faces a good chance of suffering damage, turn off the water and natural gas at your own discretion.
If you are going to ride out the storm, stay inside. If the storm suddenly lets up and everything looks calm, don’t venture out. You are likely in the eye of the storm, and the dangerous winds will be returning soon. Even if you are not taking a direct hit from the storm, keep in mind that dangerous winds along with lightning and tornados can be present anywhere in the storm.