With the possible approach of Hurricane Matthew, I thought I would put together some hurricane preparedness tips.
If you live on the coast (or within a few hundred miles of the coast) in an area that is prone to hurricanes it’s important to be prepared and to keep an eye on the weather forecast, particularly during hurricane season. If you’re new to the area, or if a rare hurricane is heading your way, here are some important tips to help you prepare and stay safe.
Know When A Storm Is Approaching
It’s impossible to be prepared if you don’t know what’s coming and when. In this day and age it is easy to stay alert to any severe weather threats including hurricanes. Hurricanes have the added benefit of being one of the very few natural disasters that we can see coming from a long way off. Set up severe weather alerts on your phone, watch the news, or keep up with the National Hurricane Center website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
Secure Your Property
Hurricanes bring a lot of rain and strong winds with them. Use the time you have before the storm reaches you to secure your property. Bring in things like patio furniture or grills that could be thrown around and possibly into a window by the storms. If you’re anything like us, remember to also check livestock areas for loose items such as buckets left out for easy water/feed/supply transport.
Before hurricane season starts, it may also be a good idea to evaluate any trees on your property and have them cut back or cut down if needed. If you’re prone to flooding having a few sandbags around to keep water from entering your home may also be a good idea. They sell them on Amazon in several sizes: 14″ x 26″, 15″ x 27″, 18″ x 30″.
Prepare To Ride It Out
If you plan on riding out the storm at home and have not been asked to evacuate, make sure you are prepared to lose power and be stuck at home for several days. Make sure you have plenty of clean drinking water and food stored.
FEMA says 3 days worth of water; that may not be enough depending on your source of water. Our power was out for 9 days during the derecho in 2012. We stayed with my mom in the city during that time (they were only out 1 day), but I can see where it would not be unreasonable to try to store 2 weeks worth of water. I know a lot of people won’t have the space for that much water; due to its weight, you may not want tall stacks of cases of water in one spot (about 50 lbs per 6-gallon case from Costco/Sam’s Club). We are on a well and need electricity to get to our drinking water. If we lose power during a snow event, I can get water from other sources, such as the river across the street, and treat it. If we lose power due to heavy rains, there’s going to be a lot of sediment in the river water. You need to be able to deal with an outside source of water if you can’t store enough. I just bought the Katadyn TRK Drip Ceradyn Water Filter. It has ceramic filters that can be washed and reused for years. It can treat about 39,600 gallons of clear water (150,000 L) on the original ceramic filters. You do have to scrub off the filters occasionally.
It helps to have food that’s ready to eat if the power goes out and you can’t cook outside because of the weather. In other words, stock up on some canned good and things like crackers, peanut/nut butter, and bread. Walmart has even started carrying several types of organic canned beans (I try for as little BPA as possible, though we do still use conventional canned food as well).
Keep a battery operated weather radio handy so you can continue to monitor the situation. We have an AcuRite 0851-RX and it’s been working well since 2012.
Evacuate If Needed – The Earlier The Better
If you are asked to evacuate, don’t hesitate to pack up and head out. Things can be replaced, people can’t. The earlier you leave the better. You don’t want to be stuck in a lot of traffic with a huge storm at your back.
Make sure you know your evacuation routes well ahead of time and have alternate routes planned as well. Head to a shelter if you must. These places quickly get crowded though, so if you have alternative options like staying with a family member or friend, take advantage of them. This is the reason for having a bug-out bag or box (BOB). I’ll be doing a post on bug-out bags soon. Also remember to take easily portable items that you might not want to fall into the hands of looters (and I’m NOT talking about TVs here).
Have Emergency Contact Information Handy
Create emergency contact information including non-911 numbers for the local police department and emergency services, your insurance company, doctors, and of course all family members. Having these numbers with you will come in handy when you have to leave at the spur of the moment. Don’t rely on electronic devices. Power may be out and a good old fashioned index card or planner with important numbers on it will come in handy.
What tips would you add? Let me know in the comments below!