How to prepare for a Hurricane/ Hurricane preparedness

    Hurricane season officially began on June 1 and will end on November 30, 2018.  If you live anywhere along the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico, then you should prepare.  Hurricanes are huge storms that can span hundreds of miles.  Don't overlook the damage hurricanes cause inland, not just on coastlines.  We should all be prepared for hurricanes.  

    As the saying goes "If you stay ready, then you don't have to get ready."  

    The first step of preparedness is to be physically fit for the skills that can save your life.  While this won't help you for an immediate, impending hurricane, you should start getting stronger now for the future.  Hopefully you don't have to evacuate by foot, but it's always good to know how far you can walk if the situation arises.  Being able to swim or at least float could help save your life.  You will need physical strength at some point, so heavy lifting is essential.  Keep your balance sharp. You never want to make a bad situation worse by falling. For a well balanced approach on how to keep your body working and ready for real life scenarios, consider reading The Nine Rudiments a Working Body is Intended to Learn and Practice.  You can find it here.

    But what does preparing for a hurricane entail?  WHAT IMMEDIATE ACTION DO YOU TAKE? 

    Below are actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseHAVE A PLAN

    • Enter hurricane season prepared. Food, Water, First Aid Kits, Flashlights, and batteries.  Always have more than you think you need of these things.  Not just for a hurricane.  These items cover a broad range of emergency scenarios and tend to get used faster than you think in emergencies.
    • Know when and where to go. If you are going to evacuate, know when and how. It is likely that roads can become gridlocked if you leave with the herd. Leave at an off hour such as 2 am.  If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Know alternate routes. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
    • Put together a disaster supply kit, which should include plenty of flashlights, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies, keep your kit in a waterproof bag.  I personally prefer a backpack so that one can remain mobile and hands free while also keeping your kit safe and dry. 
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    • Copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate should be kept in a waterproof bags like this that also can double to protect your cell phone or as a waterproof wallet. 
    • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
    • Make a family emergency communication plan.
    • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications.To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
    • Cook all raw meats in your refrigerator and freeze them. They will help keep your other food cold and you can take them out one at a time for meals that do not require cooking. 
    • Remember that canned food is great for these situations, so you should have some stocked in case of a situation like this.
    • If you decide to stay home, fill up the bathtub. An average bathtub holds enough water for about three days, and makes it possible to flush the toilet using a bucket.
    • Keep in mind how much water is inside your hot water heater. In a pinch that water could keep a person alive for a month. Each person in your family needs about a gallon of water a day. A dog needs about half a gallon. A cat about a quarter of a gallon. 
    • Put all ice in your freezer into plastic bags. Freeze all water bottles. The more full your freezer and refrigerator is, the longer it will stay cold. 
    • Eat perishables first in anticipation that the power may go out. Be well stocked on prescription drugs that your family takes on a regular basis. 
    • Keep valuables waterproofed and high off floor in case of flooding. 

    This section is Expanded. Click to Collapse For Your Home

    • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
    • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
    • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
    • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
    • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

    What's the Difference between a 

    "WATCH" and a "WARNING"?

    A "watch" means that conditions are possible whereas a "warning" means that hurricane conditions are expected.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseHurricane Watch

    Hurricane watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hrs.

    Steps to take:

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseHurricane Warning

    Hurricane warning = conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

    Steps to take:

    • Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
    • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
    • Follow the hurricane timeline preparedness checklist, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseWhat To Do When A Hurricane Is 6 Hours From Arriving

    • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
    • Close storm shutters and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
    • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
    • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseWhat To Do When A Hurricane Is 6-18 Hours From Arriving

    • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
    • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseWhat To Do When A Hurricane Is 18-36 Hours From Arriving

    • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
    • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
    • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseWhat To Do When A Hurricane Is 36 Hours From Arriving

    • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
    • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
    • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
    • Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
    • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseAfter A Hurricane

    • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
    • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
    • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
    • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
    • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
    • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
    • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
    • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

    This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseWhen There Is No Hurricane: Make A Hurricane Plan

    • Know your hurricane risk. Talk to your local emergency management agency.
    • Make an emergency plan.
    • Build or restock your basic disaster supplies kit, including food and water, a flashlight, batteries, chargers, cash, and first aid supplies.  Get supplies for your kit here.
    • Consider buying flood insurance.
    • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground or to evacuate.
    • Stay tuned to local wireless emergency alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.

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