Hurricane season begins in June and ends in November. While storms do come in other monthsof the year, the majority of tropical depressions and hurricanes will occur during this time. Because of the threats that hurricanes present, it is very important that you are aware of the dangers of the storm and take every precaution to prepare for the threats that the storm poses. The key is to prepare ahead of time. When a storm is forecast to hit your area, most stores will sell out of necessary emergency items very quickly.
Most importantly, it is critical that you have an emergency kit packed. Your emergency kit should be located in a convenient and easy to find place. Any member of the family should be able to get to the emergency kit. To prepare your kit, think about the things that you would need if you were without heat, food, water or power for days or even weeks. You should have jugs of drinking water, canned foods, dry goods, a flashlight, batteries, battery powered television or radio, lighter, matches, candles and a manual can opener. It is very likely that your power will go out during a hurricane. Candles, flashlights and lighters will be the only source of light that you have during this time. It is very important to be able to receieve news and weather updates, so a battery powered radio or television is a must. Jugs of water can be stored for extremely long periods of time and there is no such thing as having too much water. You will need it for bathing, drinking and possible cooking.
Another important item to have is an “important papers” box. This box should include marriage licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, homeowners information, insurance information, wills and any other important documents that you might need. If an evacuation has been ordered, you should always take the box of important papers with you. It is likely that the hurricane could damage your area and you would need these papers.
During a hurricane, winds can rage in excess of 100 mph and cause massive storm surges. Tropical storms are not very strong and category 5 storms are likely to produce winds in excess of 175 mph. Any outside furniture, toys and trash cans should be brought inside or put in a storage unit to prevent flying debris during the storm. Board up your windows with sturdy wood and nails so that flying debris or falling trees do not break the glass.
If you think that you will be evacuating for the hurricane, make hotel reservations early. Because many people do not wait out the storm at home, hotels will fill up very quickly. Most hotels will allow guests to bring their pets with them in an emergency situation. You can ask ahead of time what the policy is. Pack your pet plenty of food for the time you will be gone. Pack a good amount of clothing, medications, your important papers box, cash and any necessary toiletries. Remember that stores will have limited supplies during this time, so it is best to pack what you need. Visit the ATM ahead of time because they too may lose power during the storm. Credit card machines will not be able to run and you may need to have actual cash for any necessary purchases. Fill your gas tank up ahead of time because many people will be evacuating and filling up as well. Gas shortages are likely and the wait time may be substantial. It is also a good idea to have an extra gas container of gas in case you are in need and there is none. Keep your cell phone charged and remember to take the car charger with you if you do evacuate.