Hurricanes can be devastating to your house or building. This guide on hurricane protection lists 10 steps to prepare for a hurricane.
About five hurricanes strike the U.S. coastline every three years.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, the official hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.
This means that you need to be prepared for the possibility of a hurricane for five months of the year.
What can you do to make sure your property and loved ones have the hurricane protection they need? Let’s take a look at 10 hurricane preparation tips.
- Fortify Your Home
If a hurricane is going to hit your area, you’re going to want to secure your home. Make sure all of your windows and doors are closed. You might consider upgrading to impact windows which both protect you from storms but also can help you save money on energy bills.
If you don’t have impact windows or hurricane shutters, you’ll want to board up your windows and doors with plywood. This will make it more difficult for rain and wind to cause damage to your home. You’ll also want to reinforce the garage doors to make sure that everything in the garage is safe and protected as well.
Make sure to secure your garage soon after you hear that a hurricane is coming. You don’t want to leave this task for last, because you don’t want to get caught outside when the storm hits.
You’ll also want to know how to turn off the power and the gas to your home ahead of time. Make sure that you have all the tools you need for the job in an easily accessible place. You’ll want to listen to officials during this time, who will inform you whether or not you should turn off your utilities.
Important documents like birth certificates, social security cars, marriage licenses, insurance policy information, and legal and financial papers should be stored in a safety deposit box or a bolted safe. You’ll also want to put valuable items like jewelry in there as well.
- Secure the Rest of Your Property
You’ll want to remove any dead branches and brush from your property in preparation for hurricanes. Large trees falling on your home or car can cause devastating damage. You should have an arborist evaluate trees near your home to determine how healthy they are, and have them remove dead or unhealthy trees near to either your house or your neighbor’s house.
Your car should be parked either in your garage against the garage doors or up on higher ground. Be sure to not park your vehicle underneath trees or powerlines, and don’t park in low-lying areas. Before a storm hits, it’s a good idea to have a full tank of gas in each of your vehicles.
- Secure Pets and Livestock
Make sure all of your pets are inside before a storm hits. If you have livestock, you’ll want to have a plan ahead of time for them. You’ll want to make sure they are safe and you might consider moving them to higher ground.
When you make your emergency kit, as we’ll talk about in #6, you’ll want to be sure to include pet and livestock supplies.
- Have a Plan for Family Safety and Evacuation Plan
It is absolutely essential to have a plan in place ahead of a hurricane that all of your family knows by heart. In the case that you will need to evacuate your home, the last thing you want is confusion or miscommunication.
You’ll want to check with local officials about where shelter spaces are in your community. Be aware that these can change from year to year, and could potentially be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Whether or not you evacuate or shelter-in-place will depend on a number of factors. If you live in a high rise building or a mobile home, it probably isn’t your best option to wait out the storm at home. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your home is absolutely secure, you should evacuate when the authorities tell you to.
If you aren’t able to evacuate, it’s important to identify a safe room or location. A safe room is a room that has no exterior doors or windows and preferably only one interior door. This is a room that you can take refuge in, in case the integrity of your home is compromised.
Stock your safe room ahead of time with supplies in case you retreat in a hurry.
- Have a Communication Plan in Place
Make sure your cell phones are fully charged, but you should rely on them as your sole source of communication. This is because often times cell phones won’t work in the aftermath of a big disaster.
As back up, you might consider having some type of ham radio technology or satellite phones. For the ham radio, you’ll need some form of independent power to operate it.
If you have kids, make sure that they understand the plan and know how to get in touch with you. If your children are young, you can give them an index card with important contact information on it so that an adult can help then contact you. Make sure that your older children have your numbers and emergency numbers programmed into their phones.
- Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
Well before a disaster strikes, you’ll want to stock up on a wide variety of emergency supplies.
Ideally, you’ll have enough food and water to last your family and your pets a few days. Canned, shelf-stable food that doesn’t require the addition of water or milk is best. On average, each individual will need one gallon of water per day. A pet dog will need about half of that, and cats do not require very much water.
If you are going to stay home, fill up your bathtub before the storm hits. This will hold about three days worth of water, give or take some depending on the size of your bathtub. This will allow you to flush the toilet and with proper filtration, water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.
If your water situation becomes dire, it’s important to know that there is a lot of water inside your hot water heater. This is not the case if you have a tankless heater. Follow this link to learn more about using the water from your hot water heater in the case of a disaster.
In addition to food and water, you’ll want to make sure you have emergency medical supplies and necessary prescription medication. Your emergency kit should also have battery-powered light sources, a manual can opener, a NOAA-compatible radio, hygiene products, warm clothes and blankets, and a first aid kit.
It’s also a good idea to have an emergency kit set up in your car. In addition to the supplies mentioned above, you’ll want paper maps, jumper cables, extra gas, and flares.
- Look Into Your Home Insurance
Most normal homeowner’s insurance policies do not include flood insurance. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you don’t want to wait until hurricane season to update your policy, as flood insurance might be extremely expensive or unavailable.
- Be Aware of the Possibility of Food and Water Contamination
Having a way to filter water is highly recommended in the case of a hurricane. Since hurricanes can tear about major infrastructure, contaminated water is a serious concern.
- Prepare Far in Advance
It’s common for grocery store shelves to be empty as a storm approaches. Beat the crowds and protect your family by preparing well before hurricane season begins.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, your family’s emergency plan should be in place well in advance of a potential storm. Practice evacuation routes and check in with your family members regularly to ensure that they know the plan.
- Have Several Means of Receiving Warnings and Alerts
You can sign up for community alerts, download the FEMA app, and learn about Emergency Alert Systems and Wireless Emergency Alert systems. When a disaster is approaching, you want as much advanced notice as possible.
Planning Ahead Is an Essential Aspect of Hurricane Protection
Hurricanes can flood low-lying areas, erode beaches, and demolish homes, roads, and docks. Though they only typically last for a few hours, the amount of damage they can cause is truly remarkable.
Roughly 10,000 people around the world die every year as a result of hurricanes and tropical storms. Since certain areas of the country are the most susceptible to getting hit by hurricanes, it’s possible to plan way ahead to avoid property damage, injury, and even death.
Did you find this article about hurricane protection helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative content!