Hurricane Coming? Get Prepared!

Hurricane Coming? Get Prepared!

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Are you prepared for this hurricane season? The devastation can be beyond imagination, changing your life forever as it did for thousands when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

Are you prepared for this hurricane season? The devastation can be beyond imagination, changing your life forever as it did for thousands when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

If you live within a few hundred miles of America’s coastline, particularly near the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, you’re in the habit of regularly keeping an eye on the weather, especially during hurricane season.

From late Spring to well into the Fall, tropical activity is tracked all across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean basin, and into the Gulf of Mexico. When a storm forms over open waters and begins to head toward land, people immediately begin to track its path to determine if they might be in harm’s way.

Even today, hurricanes are looming with Gustav bearing down in the Gulf while Hanna circles around in the Atlantic. If you’re in the path of a hurricane, time is of the essence. The following tips can help you quickly prepare your home and move your family members to safety.

Making A Plan

Once local and state officials have notified your area that you are under the threat of an approaching storm, you need to determine if you will stay in your home or ride it out. In some low lying areas and places where the threat of a storm surge is high, mandatory evacuations can be ordered. For all other areas, staying put means being aware of your surroundings — is your home subject to wind damage? Could trees fall on the roof? Will flood waters threaten your house?

You’ll also need to board or tape up your windows, stock up on supplies including food, water, an emergency kit, candles, matches, propane stove, batteries, paper goods, utensils, toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary items, etc. Make sure that your cell phones are fully charged because they probably won’t work for some time following the storm and you may not have electricity available to recharge it. Consider buying an electric generator to power at least some of your home’s electricity.

Hitting the Road

If you know that you’ll be evacuating, where will you go? Many local governments set up shelters, but is that where you will stay? If leaving town, do you have a relative or friend that you can stay with? Will you book a hotel room far out of town? Make sure that your car is fully gassed up (carry extra gas too), in excellent running condition, and that you have an emergency kit with you. The most direct route out of town may not be the best one, especially if highways are congested. Look for alternate routes to take, if you have an in-car navigation system, be prepared to change your routing on the fly. Never drive through high standing water; leave well before the storm hits. Even the outer bands of a hurricane can pack a wallop — sending heavy rains and winds your way a full day before landfall.

Securing Your Pets

Are you bringing your pets with you or will you be leaving them at home? Many shelters do not allow pets, but staying in your home could put you in harm’s way. If leaving your pets behind, have plenty of water and food available to them in the event you cannot get back home in a week’s time. Ask a neighbor to check in on them if they get home first or plan to stay behind.

Medicines and Important Paperwork

If your area is in danger of being hit by a catastrophic storm, then be prepared to not have a home to return to once the storm subsides. Bring prescriptions with you, important paperwork such as homeowners insurance policy, life insurance, passports, and other documentation you cannot afford to lose. If time permits, you can remove additional valuables and store them in your vehicle or move these items to higher ground.

And Don’t Forget

In the mad scramble to leave it is easy to forget something. If you have a laptop, make sure that it has been fully recharged; bring hand sanitizers, wipes, and plenty of food and water with you. If you’re staying behind, you’ll need to have all of these things and more; take out enough cash from the bank for the coming week because if you lose electricity ATMs will be down.

Finally, if you have an emergency call 911. However, don’t count on help coming to you during the middle of the storm as many fire and police departments will not send their personnel out during the worst of conditions. If your home catches fire or the roof is blown off during the middle of the storm, what will you do?

On a personal note, I stayed put when Hurricane Hugo swamped the Charleston, SC area in September 1989. Though my home escaped damage, many others were not so fortunate. A nearby trailer park was ravaged (if living in a trailer home, you’ll want to leave) and we were without electricity for four days. Yet, compared to the loss of life and property others experienced, we were thankful that our situation wasn’t worse.

Even the best weather forecasters often get it wrong, but when it comes to protecting your family and your home, taking special precautions is always in order.


Adv. — If your home is damaged by a storm, will you need to renovate it? If so, Let’s Renovate has lots of cool ideas and project information to ensure that your renovation goes according to plan. Stop by today to lay the foundation for your latest home renovation project!

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