How Prepared Are You?
Anyone living on or near the coast understands the internal tension that comes from hearing weather professionals declare that hurricane season is upon us. Every June 1st, meteorologists turn their eyes to the oceans and await the development of a circular pattern of stormy weather that may eventually become a hurricane. They create tracking maps and use historical models to predict the storm’s ultimate destination. Unfortunately, despite the high level of technology available, Mother Nature is unpredictable. In order to alleviate some of the stress that comes with the hurricane tracking, it’s a good idea for individuals to develop a plan for their families. That way when a storm does pose a threat, it’s a smoother process to prepare.
When hurricane season begins, it’s imperative to confirm that you have the appropriate supplies to ride out a storm if necessary.
- Stock up on all types of batteries. When electricity is no longer an option, battery power will become your best friend.
- Gather flashlights and put them together in one easily accessible place. A good investment for anyone in the hurricane zone is a battery-operated lamp. Flashlights are good for the initial few minutes of finding your way, but if the power is out for any length of time, it’s easier to rely on a lamp.
- Purchase and cut plywood to fit all windows of your home. Confirm you have enough “hurricane clips” to secure the wood. If you are unsure what type of material to use (i.e. hurricane clips, nails, etc.), check with your local hardware store. Tip: Many people feel safe using tape across windows; however, the insurance industry recently declared tape an ineffective method for securing windows in a storm.
- If your funds allow, purchase a generator and stock up on gas immediately before the storm. The likelihood of gas stations being closed after a storm is good, and you will need a significant amount of gas to keep the generator running. Tip: Always follow manufacturers safety regulations and never use a generator inside of your home.
- Gas up your vehicle as well. If you need to evacuate, long lines and empty pumps will become a nightmare as the storm moves closer. If you have an emergency and need to leave and gas stations are closed, having a full tank is a good insurance policy.
- Stop by the bank and withdraw cash. When computer systems are down, local grocers and pharmacies may only accept cash for purchases.
- Confirm you have ample amounts of drinking water. Boil water advisories may be instituted after the storm passes.
- Have non-perishable food items within your home as well as the means to open and eat them. Canned and dried goods will become staples until grocery stores are able to reopen.
- Immediately before a storm, clean out your refrigerator and start working your way through the freezer supplies. Any Katrina survivor will willingly share their tales of rancid food trapped for days and even weeks in musty refrigerators. Save yourself the trouble and discard that delicious rocky road ice cream before it’s too late.
- Most importantly, make good decisions for your family. During Katrina, many people tried to “ride out the storm,” which they later came to regret. If you have elderly family members or children, determine if evacuating may be a more plausible solution. Keep in mind that while the storm itself may not be that bad, conditions afterwards may be difficult. Lack of those common conveniences can make the aftermath unbearable at times.
Regardless of preparations, keep an eye on what your local meteorologists and city officials are advising you. Do your own hurricane tracking and develop an evacuation plan if you decide the situation is unsafe for your family. Mother Nature has her way of keeping people on their toes; have a plan and you’ll be one step ahead of the game!