As a category 5, Hurricane Irma is said to be is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, outside the Gulf of Mexico and of the Caribbean Sea. Irma is expected to reach Florida by this weekend, so it’s better to be prepared as best as possible.

The hurricane is expected to reach Florida this weekend.
The hurricane is expected to reach Florida this weekend. Source: The Verge

Here’s how to make your home safe and prepare for a hurricane:

Secure Documents

One of the first things to do to prepare for a hurricane is to secure important documents. Keep them in a sealed, waterproof pouch in your emergency kit, so that they are easy to grab if you have to evacuate.

List of important documents:

  • Personal documents: birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, passports, military documents, Social Security card, etc.
  • Home and property: home deed, mortgage and closing statements, car titles, insurance policies, etc.
  • Medical: health insurance cards, prescription records and contact information for your doctors

Stock Up on Water, Non-Perishable Food, and Batteries

It’s also very important to stock up on water and non-perishable food to be safe. You can also fill your sinks and bathtub with water to have an extra supply handy. Batteries are important to use on flashlights, battery-operated radio and other electronics.

Securing Your Home

Add storm shutters or nail boards to secure windows.
Add storm shutters or nail boards to secure windows. Source: Chateau and Bungalow

Backyard:

  • Make sure your yard is clear and remove any outdoor furniture or building materials that could blow away or rip off in high winds
  • Trim the trees and remove at-risk branches that could fall on electricity lines or on the house

Structure:

  • Check if there are any loose roof tiles and if it’s well-sealed
  • Protect your windows with storm shutters or nail boards over window frames
  • Reinforce your garage door

Inside:

  • Lower your fridge’s thermostat and freezer to the coldest possible temperature and avoid opening it.
  • Close all air vents and fireplace dampers
  • Turn off fans, AC, and other forced air heating systems.
  • Move any valuables from the basement or low areas

Emergency Supply Kit

Make sure your emergency supply kit has everything you may need.
Make sure your emergency supply kit has everything you may need. Source: Medium

According to the Department of Homeland Security, a basic emergency supply kit could 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 radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • 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
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Keeping Yourself Safe

While the hurricane is passing, stay in a room with no windows or inside a closet, more towards the center of your house. Stay inside and keep your family safe until officials say that danger has passed. Have a battery-operated radio to get updates on the hurricane.

Remember:

Don’t trust calm weather, it does not mean the storm is over.

Pets

Your pets have to stay safe inside the house or go with you in case of evacuation
Your pets have to stay safe inside the house or go with you in case of evacuation. Source: Survival Life

Make sure the pets are safe inside the house and if you have to leave, take them with you. Make sure you have enough food for your pets and extra water for them as well.

Call ahead to make sure hotels and shelters are pet-friendly. If you are unable to take your pet with you, consider contacting an out-of-town relative or friend to take care of your pet.

Get Ready to Leave

Make sure you and your family is ready to leave at a minute’s notice.

Your vehicle should be well maintained. Fill up the gas tank, check the tire pressure, and replace the windshield if possible. Make sure the spare tire is in good condition. Check if your insurance policy has hurricane coverage and take photos of your car before leaving.

Map your route and have a plan B, too. Avoid smaller roads and follow the direction of authorities. Get to know the city evacuation plans.

Whether you choose to evacuate your city or to say in your house, I hope these tips will help you be safer during the hurricane season.

Share these safety measures with your friends and family and if you have any extra tips, write them below in the comments and I'll gladly add them to this guide!

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