We’re pushing through the hurricane season, and it’s quite possible that some people have not started their preparations. The good news is that you have time to prepare for this hurricane season and quickly put things in place before the next big storm hits. Ideally, preparations should be in place before June 01, but there are times when this is not always possible. If you feel as though you are behind and you want to move now, here are tips to help you to quickly and adequately prepare for the hurricane season:
- Identify Your Risks
- Create an evacuation plan
- Put together an emergency kit
- Review your insurance policies
- Organise your financial records
- Make a plan for your pets
- Create a first aid kit
- Buy non-perishable food
- Inventory your personal property
- Keep emergency escape tools close by
- Research evacuation routes
- Find out where your hurricane shelters are
- Prepare for power outages
- Secure valuables and important documents
- Keep cash on hand
- Pack a “Go Bag”
- Create an emergency communication system
- Prepare your vehicle
- Learn the tropical storm jargon
- Identify a shelter room
- Check up on family members
- Protect your property
- Stay updated
Expert Tips to Help You Prepare for Hurricane Season
Preparing to prepare for tropical storms, means that you are committed to the task at hand. Advanced storm preparation is one of the steps that will keep you ahead of any tropical storm or natural disaster. The Atlantic hurricane season is an annual event that occurs from June to November of each year. This means that you have six months to use for hurricane prepping.
1. Identify your risks
Although you may reside in a general area that is prone to tropical weather, you might face certain risks that might be more prevalent in your specific neighbourhood. Tropical storms pose several threats to the Caribbean and coastal United States districts. When determining the risk for your area, you must consider if your area is prone to impacts such as flooding, landslides, and storm surge.
2. Create an evacuation plan
Do you know where you will go in the event that you have to evacuate your home? An evacuation plan is a well-thought-out approach to what should happen when you have to evacuate. To create an effective evacuation plan, you will have to know your evacuation zone, where you will go after you evacuate and the route you will use to get there.
3. Put together an emergency kit
What’s in your emergency kit? If you do not have one, you must build an emergency kit that will allow you to survive for a few days. If you want to build your kit, some of the items that you can include in your kit are flashlights and batteries; a portable radio, blankets, toiletries, a change of clothing, a fire extinguisher, personal hygiene items, food and a first aid kit.
4. Review your insurance policies
Are your insurance policies adequate? What types of coverage do you have now? It’s always a good idea to review your insurance policies to ensure that they cover all types of natural and their potential impacts. Specifically for tropical storms and hurricanes, you should confirm that your property is insured against flooding, wind, rain and water damage.
5. Organise your financial records
Do you know where your financial records and personal information records are? If you are forced to evacuate your home, you should be able to locate these items quickly. Store your records in a safe place, in a watertight container. Also, make copies of these items (both physical copies and digital copies) just in case you lose the originals in a disaster.
6. Make a plan for your pets
Don’t forget your pets! Unfortunately, some shelters do not accommodate pets in a natural disaster. As a result, you should identify which shelters will accept your pet. This will allow you to make an evacuation plan that you can put into action long before the tropical weather threat reaches your area. You should also put together or purchase a pet first aid kit. Remember, you should never plan to leave your pet behind.
7. Create a first aid kit
The Red Cross recommends having a first aid kit in your home and car to be prepared for emergencies. Your first aid kit should contain enough items for each member of your family. Some of the items to include are bandages, ointments, non-latex gloves, gauze pads and tweezers. Check this post on Storm Preppers for tips and suggestions on how to build your own first aid kit.
8. Buy non-perishable food
Non-perishable foods are foods that you can stockpile for a long time without spoiling. The ideal foods to add to your supermarket list are grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, protein meals and some beverages. Many of these items come in the form of canned food, and they do not require cooking.
9. Inventory your personal property
To create a personal property inventory, you have to make a list of all items in your home. There are two main purposes of inventorying your property. Firstly, it can assist in getting claims processed if you experience losses as a result of a storm. Secondly, the personal property inventory can help you to determine if you have enough coverage for your belongings.
10. Keep emergency escape tools close by
Emergency escape tools will help you to free yourself if you ever get trapped in your home or in a vehicle. For your home, some emergency escape tools include handsaws, knives and scissors, pliers, hammers, wrenches, and box cutters. For your car, escape tools include emergency shears, safety hammers, seatbelt cutters and window breakers. There are also all-in-one car escape tools which can perform several tasks.
11. Research evacuation routes
Depending on where you live, local disaster management agencies will have maps of hurricane evacuation routes. If these maps do not exist for your area, you can create your own by referring to a local map to identify the roads that you can take to get to safety. Where possible, add a “You are here” marker, a “destination” marker and then highlight primary and secondary routes that will take you from start to finish.
12. Find out where your hurricane shelters are
Before a tropical storm comes, you should know where your hurricane shelters are located. Your local disaster management agency will have a list of the shelters in your area. Use a map to find the shelter that is closest to you. Alternatively, if you are in the United States, use the DRC Locator or follow the guidelines on the Disaster Assistance page.
13. Prepare for power outages
There are several ways that you can prepare for a power outage. When stocking your emergency kit, include batteries, flashlights and lanterns, power banks (to charge cell phones and other small electronics), a solar lantern, and a battery powered radio. Long-term power outages may require a generator and containers with gas and diesel. Also, if you can, install solar lamps outside your home.
14. Secure valuables and important documents
To secure valuables and important documents, place them in water-proof and air-tight container. Additionally, you should make hard copies and soft copies of these documents and store them in a secure place. Where possible, let trusted friends or family members know where you have saved these documents.
15. Keep cash on hand
You never know when a crisis or catastrophe will hit your area and cause banking operations to close. As a result, you should keep hard cash in a secret place in your home in case banks are closed. ATMs and card machines rely on electricity, but if there is no power, you will not be able to make transactions. For example, in Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane Ida in 2017, many businesses were only accepting cash because there was no electricity.
16. Pack a “go bag”
A go-bag is an emergency bag that is packed with items that you will need in an emergency. Your go-bag should contain water, food, batteries, a first aid kit, change of clothing, toiletries, flashlight, radio, and copies of your important documents. A small carry-on suitcase is an ideal case for your go-bag. Wherever possible, you should keep a go-bag at work and in your car.
17. Create an emergency communication system
There are different ways to create an emergency communication system. However, you just need one that is reliable and easy to use by you and your family. The communication system can be created with easy-to-use cell phones, mobile apps and landlines. More sophisticated systems use two-way radios, HAM radios or even satellite phones. The aim is to establish an effective method of reaching your loved ones in an emergency.
18. Prepare your vehicle
To prepare your vehicle for a tropical storm or hurricane, it must be able to get you to a safe area in one piece. That being said, make sure that you get a mechanic to check your car. They should pay close attention to the battery, engine, radiator, fluids, and plugs. Additionally, you should keep an emergency kit in the car so that if you cannot make it back home, you already have items on hand.
19. Learn the tropical storm jargon
Do you know the difference between a tropical storm watch and a tropical storm warning? These are just two of the terms that are used very frequently during the hurricane season. By understanding the hurricane terminology, you will know what to expect and how you should react. Take a look at **, an article that lists tropical storm terminology.
20. Identify a shelter room
A shelter room or safe room is a room in your home that can resist impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes. Ideally, the shelter room should not have any windows, and must be located on an inner section of the house. Please note, that you should not use a safe room in areas that are prone to flooding. Additionally, depending on where you live, you should register your safe room with local authorities.
21. Check up on family members
Although you may be prepared for the next tropical storm, you should check on family members to assess their readiness. For family members that are elderly, those who have medical issues and others who may live alone, take note of their needs. Ensure that their homes are safe, they have emergency kits, their medications are stocked and coordinate a plan in case they have to be evacuated.
22. Protect your property
It is better to protect your property before the storm, than to repair damage. Some of the things that you should do to safeguard your property are: check your roof, windows and doors; remove debris and loose items from outside your home; clean gutters and drains; trim overgrown trees and branches; install hurricane straps on the roof; insure your property against tropical storm impacts; and use flood barriers to prevent flooding.
23. Stay updated
There are many resources that are useful for staying updated on the latest tropical storm news. Download apps, following social media accounts, and sign up for emergency alert systems in your area. Additionally, you should have a battery-operated radio that you can use to listen to radio broadcasts in your area. Visit the ** article for a list of resources that you can use to track tropical storm activity.
Don’t be caught up in the rush when the next tropical storm is on your doorstep. Get started with these tips now.
University of Central Florida (COS News): 14 Tips to Help You Prepare for Hurricane Season
Insurance Information Institute: How to prepare for hurricane season
OnStar: Are You Prepared?
NPR: It’s Peak Hurricane Season. You Should Have These Plans Ready
Heacock Insurance: Hurricane Season Preparation Guide
The Family Handyman: 12 Ways to Prep Your Home for Hurricane Season
Den Garden: 25+ Expert Ways to Prepare Your Home, Family, and Property for a Hurricane
CDC: Preparing for a Hurricane
Chubb: 10 Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane
Gregg’s Automotive: Eight Automobile Tips for Hurricane Season
Tara Energy: Essential Steps to Prepare for Hurricane Season
Tac: How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm