Ocean temperatures are rising, creating the perfect conditions for hurricanes. More and more people are crowding into cities along the eastern seaboard and other coasts prone to massive storms. Together these two conditions make a recipe for disaster.
We’ve witnessed it over and over. Communities from Texas to New York have suffered the wrath of hurricanes which leave millions without utilities and basic needs for days or even weeks. If a hurricane strikes near you, you have one of two choices. You can either be prepped to deal with the storm or you can be a hapless victim hoping some government entity comes to the rescue. It is no more complicated than that.
Following are five critical steps every prepper in a potential hurricane zone should follow to ensure their safety and that of their family.
1. Plan Ahead
Nothing is more important than having preparations in place for the coming storm. Ideally these preps should be made well ahead of the coming storm before it is bearing down on you. Just before the hurricane rolls in overhead is the wrong time to start thinking about gathering supplies and deciding if you should stay and weather the storm or bug out for dryer ground.
Every prepper should know something about the situation or adversary they are going to face. The same is true here. A basic understanding of what to expect during a hurricane is crucial to properly preparing yourself to face the storm. Knowing what to expect gives you a mental edge.
Know where your local evacuation routes and storm shelters are located. Scout them out ahead of time. Have a destination picked out ahead of time should you have to evacuate the area. If you are evacuating, stay as close to home as possible. Opt for a relatively safe location a few miles away, be it at a friend’s house, relative’s or hotel. Don’t go a hundred miles.
Should you choose to evacuate your home, do it early. Planning ahead of time puts you well ahead of others in the decision making process. While others are scrambling to gather supplies and make a decision, you will be heading to safer ground before the evac routes become clogged and jammed with the unprepared.
2. Gather Supplies
You should have the majority of your supplies on hand well in advance. At the first hint a hurricane may be heading your way gather your gear and finish your preps. Don’t wait until the grocery stores are swamped and the shelves bare. The Red Cross suggests you have enough food and water on hand for at least three days. You may want to err on the side of caution and keep more on hand. If you’ve ever gone a day without water this won’t be a hard decision to make.
Make sure to include flashlights, batteries, and a portable radio (battery operated or better yet, a self-powered wind-up model). If you or someone in your group takes medication, make sure you have at least a week’s worth on hand. Charge up your cell phone and other portable electronics.
Gas up your vehicle and fill any spare gas containers as well. If you have a portable generator make sure you know how to use it and that it is running properly.
3. Get Cash
Have plenty of cash on hand to last you through the storm and the aftermath. When the power goes down, debit and credit cards will be useless.
4. Prep the Exterior
Anything not secured to the ground can become an airborne missile in a hurricane. Put everything indoors. This includes lawn furniture, tools, planters, etc. Board up your windows. Use ¾ inch exterior grade plywood. Don’t tape your windows, as that won’t help stop a garbage can flying into them at 100 mph, anyway. If you are evacuating, turn off the natural gas supply at the meter or propane to the house.
5. Prep the Interior
Before the storm arrives, turn the temperature on your refrigerator and freezer down to their lowest setting and avoid opening them. Pack them full if possible. An empty freezer will warm up faster than one full of frozen items. If needed, pack in some water containers to freeze. Fill the bathtub with water for later use.
If evacuating, consider turning off the electricity and water supply. At a minimum unplug appliances and electronics to protect them from power surges caused by lightning.
These steps are by no means an exhaustive list of what you need to do to prepare for a hurricane. Every individual’s circumstances and needs are unique and must be prepped for accordingly. However, the five steps outlined above should get you headed in the right direction to safely weather the coming storm.