For those living in areas along the paths of some of the mightiest hurricanes in history, a hurricane-preparedness checklist is one of the most important tools this time of year. With the ever-changing need for improved safety, and with hurricane season here now, being prepared can be lifesaving in the event of a storm.
Some of the well-known hints to ensure safety during a hurricane are still the most effective. Staying indoors, away from windows and glass is one of the first warnings given as a storm approaches. Battery operated TVs or radios are ideal to have for updates from emergency information centers. Having access to these updates allows more time to deal with any changes the storm may be making. Hurricanes are unpredictable and knowing what is going to happen before it actually happens is key in remaining secure.
Before the storm, bring in anything large enough to cause damage if it is picked up by strong winds. Bicycles and lawn furniture tend to be extraordinarily hazardous during peak winds, as are heavy potted plants and scrap wood or metal.
Another thing to make sure you have done before the storm arrives is window protection. If you are not lucky enough to own hurricane shutters, board up all windows and doors with plywood. Glass shattering and doors blowing open during the worst parts of the storm can be deadly.
As the storm draws near, go over any evacuation plans you have made with your family to ensure everyone is up to speed with a course of action. If an evacuation plan has not been previously mapped out, make sure to have it done a few hours before the storm makes landfall. Planning an evacuation route reduces fear, especially in young children, and it alleviates confusion during the storm.
Make sure your household is aware of the community evacuation centers and response plans. Have a list ready of any medical disabilities a family member may have and arrange to have any pets taken care of if they cannot be taken with you, in the event of an evacuation.
Most standard home-owner’s insurance does not cover flooding, so to avoid the hassle and out-of-pocket expense due to floods associated with hurricanes or other heavy rains, shop around to find the most cost-effective protection once hurricane season draws near. If you have not done it by the time the hurricane hits, the results could be devastating.
Remembering the smaller details, that tend to be very important, during a hurricane can be even more crucial than the more obvious things. Making sure your home is stocked with bottled water and canned goods is one of the most critical things you can do. This can ensure a more comfortable ride-out of the storm and aftermath. Also, stocking up on batteries for flashlights, candles, and matches is another essential detail. Make sure to store them in easy-to-locate spots so that they are accessible to everyone if the lights go out. Another thing to keep handy is a list of emergency numbers. The chance of phone service remaining available in the event of a large hurricane is slim, but in case there is an emergency while you have access to your phone, you will have the numbers at your disposal.
Hurricanes can be a traumatic event for many; houses can collapse, loved ones injured, and many memories can be destroyed. Being prepared as much as possible before, during, and after, is a resourceful way to eliminate some of the stress. Safety is the number one priority during any major storm and preparedness in the event of a hurricane can not only be less stressful, but it can also be lifesaving.
Written by: Amy Magness Whatley
Do and don’t