For those who live in areas that are considered Hurricane Zones, you need to be aware of the potential dangers that you face during a hurricane. Far too many people ignore the threat, oddly believing it won’t affect them even though they live directly in the danger zone.
Hurricanes should never be taken lightly. Even when downgraded to a tropical storm, the intense rain and winds generated by these storm systems can still be enough to cause major problems and large-scale damage throughout major portions of the country. From downed power lines and flash flooding to building damage and the loss of essential services, the initial storm surge can cause a number of problems that you need to be prepared for.
If you plan on staying in the area or have stayed beyond the period where you can safely evacuate, you need to be prepared to survive in your home for at least 14 days without food, water, or power. The government often recommends that you need at least 72 hours’ worth of supplies, but based on past storms this number is nowhere near what you should prepare for. These numbers are grossly underestimated, and put together by people who continually screw up when things go bad — you can not count on the government during times of crisis!
Hurricane Classifications and Damage Estimates
Hurricanes are classified based on their wind speed and given a ranking of 1 to 5 on The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 in strength are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage to infrastructure and property.
While Category 1 and 2 don’t cause as much damage, they are still incredibly dangerous and have the potential to kill. So while these scales give you an idea of what to expect, storms are very hard to predict and things can often change in a matter of hours.
Hurricane Supples to Stock up on that can Help you Survive
What you stock is going to depend on your unique needs; for instance, someone with medical problems is going to have a whole list of products that they may need that the average person would do just fine without. That being said, there are some general emergency preparedness items that everyone should consider stockpiling.
- Think about what things you would take on a camping trip, one where you had no access to power or water. These are the type of things that you’ll want to stock up on because there’s a good chance you’ll probably be camping out in your home for at least a couple of days following the storm.
- Lighting the way. Candles, lanterns, and flashlights are all essential during a hurricane. Make sure you have a number of them on hand and don’t forget to stock up on extra batteries.
- Generator – If you can afford one, a generator sure makes things a lot easier during a power outage. Just remember to keep it away from your home and away from windows so the dangerous exhaust fumes don’t blow back into your house.
- Canned Food – Having canned food that can be eaten right out of the can is always a good idea. Not only can it be eaten without cooking, but it can make life easier and give you less to worry about after a storm. Just make sure to have a couple can openers on hand, or buy cans with easy open pop tops.
Hurricane Preparedness – Tips to survive a hurricane
Disaster after disaster shows us just how unprepared the government is to respond to any sort of crisis. The reality is that even after the colossal government failures in responding to Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, very little has changed in the way FEMA responds to these disasters.
From the major failures in how the government responded to the Gulf Oil Spill to the criminally neglectful way the government responded to the Flooding in Louisiana in 2016, our nation’s emergency preparedness managers continue to fall short in terms of planning for catastrophic disaster response and rescue.
Learning lessons from these massive government failures, the public needs to understand that they are on their own; they need to start preparing for the next major disaster.
- If you can evacuate, you probably should go. In my opinion, no amount of stuff is worth losing your life. In the case of a major hurricane, it’s often best to listen to evacuation warnings, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to flooding. And don’t wait until the last-minute, or you could end up stuck in traffic on the highway when the storm hits.
- If you’re planning on hunkering down, you need to have enough supplies to survive 14 days without food, water, or power.
- During the storm, take shelter in a small interior room, closets, or areas without windows — preferably on the lower levels of your home.
- The higher you are during the storm, the worse the winds will become. If you live in a high-rise building, you need to find somewhere else to go.
- If you can, try to secure your home by boarding up windows with at least 5/8 inch marine grade plywood.
- Secure everything that’s outside your home that could turn into a dangerous projectile during the storm. Strap down, or bring in any anything that you don’t want to fly away.
- If you expect major flooding it might be a good idea to temporarily turn off your utilities at the main switches or valves.
- If you don’t have a large amount of water on hand, fill up as many containers as you can before the storm hits. Tap water usually becomes unsafe after major storms, so you’ll want to have as much water on hand as you can store. Pots, pans, and even your bathtub can be a great way to store extra water.
- Beware of the calm in the middle of the storm. A lot of people get into trouble because they drop their guard when it seems like things have calmed down. Remember, when the eye of the storm is overhead it can look like the storm has passed. In reality, there’s more to come; and what’s coming can often be worse than what’s already passed.
After the Storm: The Post-Hurricane Danger that can Still Kill
- Avoid floodwater. Floodwater often contains things that are hazardous to your health. From raw sewage to oil, gasoline and other potential dangers like downed power lines, the last thing you want to do is go walking through floodwater.
- Be on the lookout for looters or anyone who looks like they should not be in your neighborhood. Natural disasters can often bring out people who are looking for easy opportunities to rob and steal, so make sure you’re ready to defend your home and your family.
- Monitor your weather radio or emergency radio. Make sure you monitor the situation so you know if things are getting better or worse. Knowledge is power, so make sure you know what’s going on around you.
- Just because the hurricane passes don’t assume that the dangers have passed. From looters to floodwater, your troubles may have just begun. Don’t let your guard down just yet.