Shortly after getting past the average peak of hurricane season, Hurricane Florence is now expected to make landfall in North or South Carolina by Thursday. The hurricane is approaching the East Coast with winds over 130 mph, which makes it a Category 4. The National Hurricane Center said the effects could hit as far as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including devastating winds, rainfall, and flooding.

Not only that, there are other hurricanes putting our safety at risk in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, such as Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Helene, Hurricane Lane, and Hurricane Olivia. In a time like this, we all need to be prepared, so here are a couple of things to pay attention to when preparing for a hurricane.

Home Security

Flooded house.
Image source: Survival Life

Depending on the location you live in, securing your home might be the hardest part to achieve. Check your insurance coverage and consider getting flood insurance since these are not commonly included in most insurances.

Then you can start thinking about the practical measures you can take:

  • Tie down gutters and downspouts, and clean debris from them
  • Secure doors and windows by sealing them (plus, you can buy some plywood to board them up)
  • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs
  • Purchase a portable generator for power outage emergencies
  • Declutter the drains
  • Seal holes on the wall (such as electrical wire holes that come inside the house)
  • If you haven’t had a roof inspection in a while, this is the time to make an emergency call to a pro to come and check if everything is in its right place. Otherwise, you’ll need to ask for advice on what to do to prevent further damage when the storm hits
  • While it won’t prevent entirely the flood damage, sandbags will help with a big part of it - they will be useful with floods up to two feet. You can either purchase them at a local store or make your own with sand and plastic bags
  • Secure porches by checking structures and making sure they’re firmly anchored to the ground; clean the lawn so there’s no risk of any furniture or decor items flying around and causing severe damage to your home structure
  • Secure the garage door by reinforcing it with horizontal wood beams
  • Turn the refrigerator to the coldest temperature so everything keeps cool for longer in case the power goes out
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks a couple of hours before the storm hits, so you can have enough to flush toilets and cook with if the power goes out
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics whether you’re leaving the house or not
  • Make sure you have food and water stored for at least three days in your house (not only in an emergency kit)
  • Get a non-electric analog phone
  • Store important documents and a list of your current household inventory in a watertight container (like a specially designed safe or a dishwasher)

Disaster Supply Kit

Emergency supplies list.
Image source: Survival Life

You should keep at least one kit for each person in the house, they should include:

  • Supply of non-perishable food + a gallon of water per family member (for at least three days)
  • First aid supplies
  • Cash
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Manual can opener

Communication Plans

It’s likely that during a hurricane, the common means of communication, such as phones and the internet, become temporarily unavailable. Which means you need to have backup plans:

  • Stay tuned for local authorities sharing which locations are safe in the news and establish a meeting spot there (and find out where the local shelter is) - you should have at least three spots: in your neighborhood, in your town, and outside your town
  • Make plans for how to get to the safe location
  • Make sure you have a way to get in touch with your family and get emergency alerts
  • Have a way to get to know and/or let your family know when everybody’s safe if you end up not being together
  • Create a master copy of contact info (like phones, addresses, social medias, and emails) for the entire family and be sure everyone has at least one copy with them when they leave the house

Evacuation Order

South California beach.
Image source: axios

One of the most important things before and during a hurricane is to listen to authorities. So, should it come to an evacuation order being issued in the region you live in, make sure all the drivers in the family are aware of the evacuation routes. More than that, identify a meeting spot in case you’re not all in the same place when the hurricane happens.

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