How to Handle a Hurricane: Staying Calm During the Storm

Do you find yourself scrambling when a hurricane warning goes out? If you live in an area where hurricanes or tropical storms are a frequent occurrence, especially in the autumn, it can save you a great deal of stress to take the time to put a plan together in advance. This way, when the alert goes out, you are not racing around trying to figure out what to do.

The first thing you should have on hand, weather it is for a hurricane or any disaster, is an emergency kit. Include a basic first aid it, a radio or television with batteries, flashlight with batteries, some unscented candles and a lighter, duct tape, personal sanitation supplies, and enough food and water to last you and your family about three days. For more information about what FEMA recommends for your kit, visit their website.

In addition to having an emergency kit, knowing what to expect during the hurricane is critical. Knowledge is key. Watch television and go online to learn how your state and local government is preparing. In advance, learn where the evacuation routes are in your community and where the local shelters are. If you have a pet, find a shelter that accepts pets. If you live in an area prone to flooding, a good decision is to evacuate prior to the hurricane. If you do not, it is still a good idea to heed the advice of local authorities, and if they say it is okay to stay at home, at least know the locations of a few shelters in your area.

If you choose to stay home, known as “sheltering in place,” FEMA has several recommendations. Make sure you lock your doors, close your windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers. Seal your windows, doors, and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Move yourself, your family, and your pets to an interior room, away from windows. Make sure that you have brought your outside furniture and anything that is loose or not tied down inside. Trash cans or decorations can become a dangerous projectile in high, gusting winds. Close your blinds and curtains so that if a window does break, you have some protection inside. Lastly, unplug your appliances and all electronics. A power surge can cause major damage to these items, even if you use a surge protector. Visit FEMA’s website for more tips.

Finally, write down all important phone numbers. Do not rely on looking them up online as you may lose internet access. Knowing your utility company’s phone number, local police department, cable company, the phone number for the shelters, and any other numbers you may need may come in handy.

With a little preparation in advance, some knowledge during the hurricane alert, and a bit of preparation before the storm hits, you and your family will be prepared to weather the storm.

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