How to Prepare for a Hurricane – Tips from a Survivor

Surviving a hurricane is much easier than surviving a tornado. Tornados give little warning. Hurricanes warnings start three days or more before landfall. Giving everyone plenty of time to find shelter, right? Not really. Preparing for a hurricane can take days. Many people don’t seem to realize that everything you do ahead of time saves precious minutes. Here are a few tips for surviving a hurricane.

Tip One: Don’t be there! Leave! Your odds of surviving are much greater if you are not caught in a hurricane. So to be able to leave the area plan your retreat. Have your car filled with fuel, have your traveling hurricane survival kit in the trunk, have cash on hand and plan your destination for avoiding and/or riding out the storm.

Tip Two: Have a hurricane survival kit packed early in the season, don’t wait around. In the kit include: Canned or package foods and snacks that need no refrigeration, bottled water, required medications, flashlights with extra batteries, blankets, changes of clothing, toiletries, portable battery powered radio, battery powered cellular phone charger and CASH. To survive in style add a propane stove with extra propane canisters, basic camp cooking kit, cooler (use block ice it lasts longer), ice pick, lighters, matches, adult refreshments, kid refreshments, portable DVD player, car plug-in power inverter, inflatable air mattress, pillows and your laptop computer. Think a week long higher tech camping trip.

Tip Three: Insurance premium update at least a month before the hurricane season starts. While no insurance policy will cover everything you own completely make sure your coverage is enough to get a new start in life. Note: This is a do as I say not a do as I did word of advice. Another part of this insurance issue is making sure your address on your drivers license is correct, important documents are in a secure place or with you, and have current photographs of your more valuable belongings.

Tip Four: Evacuating from a hurricane doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt. It can be a great time to visit family in say, Kansas, or check out a few amusement parks. If you live in hurricane zones, let your vacation plans be a little more spontaneous. Going with the flow if you are prepared ahead of time is fairly easy. While this tip may not seem important, being well rested and in good spirits helps in dealing with the reality of a hurricane’s aftermath. It could be a long time before you get another vacation.

Tip Five: Have your property hurricane preparations down to a science. This item is down on the list because everything you own is replaceable. Still you have to have a plan to protect your real and personal property in time efficient manner. Have ropes for securing outdoor furniture on hand and a plan for securing everything quickly. Have your window and door boarding materials precut and marked for the correct opening. Plan your hurricane property protection to take as little time and energy as possible. Make sure you have a realistic time to leave deadline. It can take many hours to get out of a hurricane evacuation zone traveling five miles per hour. The longer you wait the longer it takes.

Tip Six: If the storm devastates the area you live in, prepare yourself mentally for your return. You should not rush back to find out how your property faired. Plan your return to be helpful for your neighbors. Stock up on basic items they are likely to need. If you can contact your neighbors, try to get a list of things in short supply. Chainsaws, wet vacuums, cleaning supplies, generators, power inverters, charcoal and even new DVDs are commonly in short supply.

Residents of the Florida Keys face many hurricane evacuations in a season. Rarely does a large percentage of Keys residents evacuate. Category one and two storms are so common that hardly anyone leaves. Category three storms are taken more seriously with mini evacuations to stronger buildings often more inland or on the lee side of the islands. Category Four and Five storms get plenty of respect from Keys residents. After hurricane Wilma flooded the lower and middle Keys, claiming over eighty thousand vehicles, causing billions in property damage and clean-up costs, they will be taken more seriously. After losing everything I own save my trusty laptop and guitar to Wilma, I speak with some authority on the subject of hurricane survival. Property can be replaced, you can’t.

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