Are You Prepared For The Next Hurricane?

Are You Prepared For The Next Hurricane?


All eyes are on the tropics as the first group of named storms crop up, with one or more poised to make landfall over the coming days. For people who live in the vicinity of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, having a plan in place now can help avoid panicked preparation later. Even if you’re hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles away from the coast, the residual affects of a hurricane can impact you in the form of heavy rains, consumer goods shortages and nationwide flight delays.

Let’s take a look at some commonsensible preparation tips to help protect you and your loved ones:

Recharge Cell Phones – Many people rely on cell phones to keep in contact, which can be a problem when the power is out. Traditional land-line phone service is much more durable and can stay active during a hurricane while a cell tower could be knocked out, rendering your phone useless for days. In any event, prior to the storm hitting your area, make certain that your cell phone(s) are fully recharged and ready to go. Consider purchasing an extra battery to have on hand and limit your calls to preserve battery power.

Plan Your Evacuation – The more powerful the storm, the more likely you’ll need to evacuate in advance of the storm’s arrival. Listen to local reports, heed evacuation warnings. Make a plan to get to a specific destination, outlining two or three routes. A navigation unit can help you make “shift on the fly” changes. Make certain that your fuel tank is topped off and consider carrying a five gallon fuel container just in case.

Bring Along Cash – With power outages, bank teller machines are useless. Whether you’re leaving town or boarding up and staying put, you’ll want to have cash on hand. Get plenty of one and five dollar bills and bring along some change. Don’t expect anyone to be able to break larger bills; stash your cash in a safe place.

Stock Up Provisions – Have enough food on hand for at least three to four days; longer if the storm appears to be more powerful than a tropical storm or weak hurricane. Expect that food will quickly spoil, so be prepared to cook up what you need and consume it as soon as possible. Make certain that you have plenty of drinking water on hand, that all prescription medicines are filled and that your pets have food too (have a plan for you pets, too, if they can’t evacuate with you). Restock your emergency kit. Purchase dry ice and regular ice too.

Secure Your Home – Whatever isn’t tied down outside should be put away. Even in a moderate storm, most sheds will blow away, therefore reinforce your out buildings and bring other items inside. Board up your windows especially if you’re in line for a direct hit; tape offers only minimum protection. Lock all doors including your garage and patio doors; if time permits reinforce the roofing with hurricane straps.

If you are planning to evacuate and/or your neighbors are leaving, jot down each others phone numbers to stay in touch. Likely, you’ll be going in different directions which means that the first person to return to the neighborhood can apprise the others of the damage incurred and share other tips to help make returning a safe process.

As always, stay tuned in to the National Weather Service; your car radio can be helpful but use a weather radio too as a backup.

Further Reading:

Hurricane Season & Your Cell Phone

As Hurricane Season Approaches, Food Storage Planning Takes Precedence

Hurricane Recovery: Taking Action!

Hurricane Coming? Get Prepared!


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".