Emergency Preparedness: Hurricanes

It is imperative that you have necessary preparations in place for hurricane season (June 1st – November 30th). By preparing in advance you’ll invest a little time upfront, but you will have things in order and can devote time to last minute, less important items should you find yourself under a Hurricane Watch or Warning.

One good way to ease this stress is to have some plans laid in advance. Just think how you will feel having the peace of mind knowing you are prepared while everyone else in the hot zone is scurrying about trying to buy supplies that are dwindling or non-existent.

Ideally, everyone should have shutters and a secure way to lock down your home, but you at least can make sure you are prepared in every other way:

  • Make sure to inventory your valuables. Make lists and videotape. Then keep this list in a safety deposit box. This includes property deeds, marriage/birth certificates, social security cards, stocks and bonds and other portfolio information, passports, wills, medical records, and insurance policies
  • Make a reference list of everything you would absolutely want to take with you should you have to evacuate your home. Include photo albums, important documents, files, jewelry, and other precious mementos. You will surely forget something if you had to get out quickly
  • Compile a list of support contacts including family and friends that you want to stay in touch with throughout the storm. Decide on who will take what roles, and where and when to meet should phone service be out. Many people will use an out-of-town contact that may be easier to reach than a local one
  • If your area is placed under a Hurricane Watch, make sure you wash all dishes and run the dishwasher. Also make sure all the laundry is washed and clean sheets and towels are being used. You don’t know when power may be restored and this will avoid you running out of clean materials too soon
  • Be sure to have cash on you. You may not be able to find an operating ATM after the storm
  • Fill up your car with gas. Purchase a portable tank to bring extra gas. Evacuation traffic is slow
  • Make sure you have adequate supplies such as non-perishable food and water (1 gallon per day, per person) for everyone in your household. Don’t forget the manual can opener! A good rule of thumb is to have enough supplies to last you for seven days. Examples of non-perishable food items include ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, fruit bars, peanut butter, dry cereal, granola, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, and canned juices
  • Be sure you have plenty of supplies for your baby (if applicable), including formula, diapers, clean bottles, wipes, and baby food
  • Don’t forget to have all medications (filled and readily available) or special items such as prescription medicine, contact lens solution, spare eyeglasses, etc.
  • Have battery powered radio or television and flashlights handy. Don’t forget batteries for each and have extra batteries available
  • Purchase a car charger for your phone, including portable chargers
  • Take adequate measures to account for climate changes
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of diseased and dead wood
  • Cover all large windows and patio doors with securely fastened storm shutters made from 5/8″ thick plywood or greater
  • Secure doors using security deadbolt lock with 1″ minimum bolt throw length
  • Fill available gasoline containers and keep them full until the end of the hurricane season
  • Bring outdoor furniture, toys, garbage cans, potted plants, garden tools, etc. inside
  • Keep a map of your area and list of emergency shelters

Finally, don’t forget your furry friends. Here are some tips for pet owners:

  • Label crate/carrier with your contact information and pet’s feeding instructions
  • Pack a spoon for canned food
  • Readily have pet medications, toys, blankets, and treats
  • Have litter, litter pan and scoop, regular size trash bags and sealable bags for disposing of solid waste, paper towels for accidents
  • Don’t forget a leash, collar, and/or harness

Helpful Emergency Contact Numbers and Emergency Preparedness Information

The summer is a perfect time to tackle any impending projects you have been putting off. Because the world seems to slow down around us, many people are vacationing and school is out, it is a great time to delve into these matters. Review your evacuation plan with everyone in your household and make sure you all know the safest place in your home.