3 Steps to Prepare For a Hurricane

Hurricane Isabel

You read on the news that a hurricane is approaching. Now what? Read the 3 simple steps below that could save your life.

Knowledge and preparation are key to survival in an natural disaster.

Knowledge

What is a hurricane, exactly?

Wikipedia states: “A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air… While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge.”

Am I in a location that is susceptible?

“Coastal regions can receive significant damage from a tropical cyclone, while inland regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds. Heavy rains, however, can produce significant flooding inland, and storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the coastline.” – Wikipedia

When is the hurricane season?

“In the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a distinct cyclone season occurs from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September. The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is 10 September. The Northeast Pacific Ocean has a broader period of activity, but in a similar time frame to the Atlantic. The Northwest Pacific sees tropical cyclones year-round, with a minimum in February and March and a peak in early September. In the North Indian basin, storms are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November. In the Southern Hemisphere, the tropical cyclone year begins on July 1 and runs all year-round and encompasses the tropical cyclone seasons, which run from November 1 until the end of April, with peaks in mid-February to early March.” – Wikipedia

What do the categories of a hurricane mean?

Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale

Preparation

Step 1 – Build a “Quick kit”

A quick kit is an emergency supply kit that you can grab and go in an emergency. Some essential items to have in this kit include:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Step 2 – Make a Family Emergency Plan

A family emergency plan is so important. What if you aren’t all together when the hurricane hits? Where will you meet? How will you know that everyone is OK? Trying to deal with these in an emergency without a plan can be chaotic. If you don’t have a family plan, meet together as a family tonight! Answer these questions together:

  • In an emergency, where will we meet?
  • Where will we meet if the first meeting place is unavailable?
  • Who is our contact point? (Person you all know of who you can call in an emergency who will know how everyone is)

Step 3 – Stay updated

Make sure to have a battery powered radio (and of course batteries!) so that you can be tuned in to the news if the power goes out.

Have you been in a hurricane? What success story do you have or what do you wish you would have done to prepare? Post in the comments below and start a conversation!

Additional resources:
ready.gov – Hurricanes
Wikipedia – Hurricanes
What to do during a hurricane – FEMA

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