How to Prepare to Survive a Hurricane
After the 2005 catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, many unfortunate individuals were left stranded in disease infested flooded waters, surviving on roof tops for days until rescue workers could reach them. Even those who did escape to community shelters often found poor conditions, inadequate sanitation and little resources. The entire country learned much about readiness from the tragedy of Katrina’s aftermath.
Preparedness is a multi-faceted process. Sound planning for crisis situations begins far ahead in anticipation of worst case scenarios. While no planning can take into account all the possibilities, good preparation attempts to encompass as many known factors as allowable. It is also a grass roots process, which begins with each family knowing potential hazards and preparing for them.
If you’ve prepared for a natural disaster, such as a
hurricane, you will have a written family plan well ahead of time. The hurricane season (June-November) is typically at its peak from August to October, though strong storms can develop outside the seasonal months.This means you shouldn’t wait until late July to begin hurricane preparations.
Prepared for Hurricane Season: If you haven’t already done so, make a written disaster plan for your family and ready your survival kit. Stock up on non-perishable foods and drinking water. Obtain several flashlights, extra batteries, a weather radio and a high quality first aid kit. Take a first aid or CPR class. Examine your home and correct structural issues that might compromise integrity during a strong storm.Determine exit routes, alternative shelter options in case of evacuation. Make plans for pet care during evacuation. Keep dead wood trimmed back from trees near home. Learn surge history of your area. Consider flood plains, locations to rivers or bodies of water and elevation. These will aid you in knowing risks of staying in your home or evacuating.Know where official shelters are in case you can’t make it to your alternative shelter.
Hurricane Watch Issued: Leave low lying areas promptly. Begin securing or removing outside objects, such as lawn furniture or satellite dishes. Shutter windows.Check supplies of food and water. Replenish survival kit, including batteries. Get cash from ATM. Fill auto tank with fuel and get extra fuel for generators.
Move boat to secure area or moor well. Stay abreast of current weather conditions and designated shelters. Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest level. Freeze water in plastic containers. Wedge sliding doors. Move photographs, personal items of value, or light electronics, (such as laptops) to safe room.Have car parked where falling debris is not a hazard.
Hurricane Warning Issued: Listen to weather radio for constant updates. Gather family. Bring in pets. If your home is sturdy and on high ground, away from flood plains, move to designated secure area in your home.
Good choices for hurricane safe zones are those on downwind sides- away from windows. Preferably a well reinforced inner room. Those in a two story house should select first floor shelters. Multiple level buildings usually have safest spots on first or second floors. Choose interior hallways or inside stairwells. Places around elevator shafts (but NOT in an elevator) are often safe because they are reinforced in these spots. Never use an elevator during a hurricane!
Make sure cell phone is charged. Set refrigerator and freezer on maximum cold. Fill containers with additional water. You can use sanitized bathtubs, sinks, pots and pans for this purpose. Do not go outdoors, even during the calm of the hurricane’s eye. Wait until authorities inform you of favorable changes to go outside.
If your home is in danger of breaking up (i.e. the roof becomes compromised) seek shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture.
If ordered to evacuate, do so promptly. Make reservations before you leave if planning on sheltering in a hotel. Travel light, but take your survival kit, important papers, and
food and water with you.Try to stick to approved evacuation routes. If you can, evacuate during daylight hours.
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