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Hurricane Preparedness Week
Did you know that next week is “National Hurricane Preparedness Week?” Yep. May 27th – June 2nd. Hurricane season is upon us and NOAA (or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) wants you to be as prepared as possible. They have a whole week’s worth of informative videos and tutorials planned and if you are expecting a hurricane near your home, their website will be full of invaluable information for you. You can read more on their site here. I”ve also included some of their videos below.
I’ve been in one hurricane. I was about 3 or 4 years old living in Houston, TX and it is one of my first memories. Most of my memories center around the emotions that I felt in our household. I remember feeling anxious, stressed….I remember worrying about my Mom b/c she seemed different (scared I’m sure). I do remember a bit about the actual preparation: I remember filling the bathtub with water. I remember empty store shelves. I remember moving a mattress somewhere: maybe the center of the house, or maybe a closet with no outside walls…I’m not sure…
Here are few tips I’ve gathered for preparing for a hurricane once it is imminent (meaning a hurricane watch has been ordered for your area). Hopefully, if you live in an area at risk for hurricanes, you’ve already researched and are already prepared to do many of these things. If not, do what you can now before the store shelves are empty and you are being asked to evacuate.
Have at least a 3 day supply of water. That is at least 3 gallons per person. This would be barely enough for drinking and minimal sanitation. If a hurricane is not imminent, store more if you can: much, much more! If it is imminent, fill your tub, fill bowls in your home. Fill your sinks.
Have at least 3 day supply of food. Pull all foods you can eat w/o water or fuel into the same place in your home. Put them in a easy to locate / move bag or bin. In fact, if a hurricane is not yet imminent, you should work on preparing a survival kit / go bag. Follow along with this series for help with that: Survival Kit Ideas: A week by week Approach.
Freeze a few gallons of water (in milk jugs or juice bottles) in your freezer (especially good if you have a deep freezer). If the power goes out, move all the food you can to your freezer with the ice jugs. This will allow you to use the food you have in there for a longer period of time.
Make sure you have at least a 1 week supply of any necessary prescription medicines and that you can easily access them. Keep them on your person in a plastic bag if possible.
Pull out all your candles and flashlights along with batteries you may need. Make sure everyone in your home has access to at least one. Try to have at least 3 sets of batteries for each flashlight. This should give you about 1 week’s worth of light at night if needed. If you can avoid using your candles that is best in case of gas leaks. If you can, store propane for your grill or camp stove. Charcoal will also allow you to grill or cook in a dutch oven.
Put all important documents (insurance policies, passports, house deed, birth certificates etc) somewhere they will be safe and dry (a ziploc bag will work fine). You should also include credit cards and extra cash (in small bills). See this post about emergency documents for more help. You may also consider taking pictures of your home in it’s current condition and including them (or just your camera or card) in the bag so that if you have to make an insurance claim you will have what you need.
Secure and move things like kid’s toys, bicycles, patio furniture, stacks of wood inside if needed (or in a garage if you have one). Cut any branches off trees that may snap, break, and do damage to your home. If possible, consider boarding up your windows.
Make sure your children know how to call 911. Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. Often, in an emergency situation, you will not be able to communicate with those in the area, but you will be able to contact those outside of the area. Choose someone who lives away from the area that your family will all call once they are safe and okay. Then, that person can relay information to you about who she has / has not heard from. Make sure you know the best information sources for your area. Internet and television may be out of service. If you have an NOAA weather radio,(which everyone should have just for situations like this) get it out. If not, find out if any of your nearby neighbors have one.
Make sure your vehicle is filled with gas.
Pull out any and all first aid kits you have in your home and put them somewhere they are easily accessible. If you have a first aid booklet, get it out too. If not, print this one before the storm hits.
Where to go
If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately. However, it is unlikey that you will be asked to evacuate unless you live in a low-lying area. So, you must be as safe as possible in your own home. Look around your home and find the various types of hazards that could affect you during the storm. Where is your home most vulnerable to storm surge, flooding, wind, flying objects? Then, decide on the safest room (or area) in your home and move your family and supplies there before the storm hit.
What Not to Do:
Read this article for a great list of things you should not be doing during a hurricane.
I know this post is getting a bit long, but rather then provide you with a bunch of links to try and find these videos yourself, I thought I’d simply include them here. These are the 7 videos that NOAA is using for their Hurricane Preparedness tips next weeks:
Get a Plan!