Hurricanes can strike with limited warning signs, causing devastation and destruction, and killing hundreds. Even if you don’t live along the coast, you should know how to react in a hurricane scenario to protect yourself and your family, in case you ever find yourself head to head with this violent natural disaster. A few hours of thoughtful preparation could save your life – trust us; it’s worth it.
Before the Storm
If you have an indication that a severe storm is brewing, with the possibility of hurricane conditions forming, there are steps you can take proactively to protect yourself and your belongings.
- Listen to the radio or TV for the latest updates and information. Always have a battery powered, handheld radio in case of power outage.
- Find a local emergency shelter to go to if evacuation is required and ensure your car has a full tank of gas. Have a plan in place before you need it.
- Fill bottles with clean drinking water and fill sinks and bathtubs for flushing the toilet and cleaning supplies and clothing. Oftentimes, a severe hurricane will leave you without clean water and electricity for an extended period of time.
- Unplug small appliances and move furniture and valuables to the top floor of your home to avoid water damage. Ensure that all stairways and exits are kept clear.
- Bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind, such as outdoor furniture and sporting equipment.
- Bring pets inside and keep them with you at all times.
- Protect house windows with storm shutters or half-inch marine plywood.
- Clear gutters regularly to prevent flooding, as standing water will put pressure on the roof.
- Consider investing in flood insurance, as most homeowners insurance does not cover flooding and hurricane damage.
During the Storm
If you have done everything recommended above, you are well prepared. Your home and belongings are as safe as possible. Now you have to protect yourself.
- Stay indoors. If the storm has hit and you haven’t evacuated, don’t leave your home.
- Use flashlights if the power goes out. Do not rely on candles.
- Continue listening to the radio for updates. Follow any instructions of local authorities.
- Avoid contact with flood water. It could be contaminated with sewage or other chemicals.
- Moving flood water is dangerous! Even six inches of hurricane strength flood water can knock over an adult and two feet will float a car.
After the Storm
Hurricanes are devastating natural disasters, leaving millions of dollars of damage and unmeasurable heartache in their wake. There is nothing you can do to prevent these kinds of storms, but there are measures you can take to be prepared when they strike. Following this protocol can help protect your home and belongings from extensive water damage, and give you and your family the peace of mind that there is a concrete emergency plan in place.
Do you have first-hand experience bouncing back from a hurricane? Tell us your story and the strategies you found helpful before, during, and after the storm on our Facebook page.