Hurricanes can be relatively mild in strength causing little more than wind damage and/or minor flooding or they can be severely destructive forces producing major property damage and even causing loss of life. Getting ready at the beginning of the season is the best way to insure that you and your family will stay safe.
Staying out of harm's way during hurricane season requires having the proper information to protect yourself. It means arming yourself with the latest preparedness guides and knowing the evacuation routes and contraflow plans for your area. If you choose to ride out a storm in your home staying safe also means boarding up windows and having the right supplies on hand.
To evacuate or not to evacuate
Many people who have experienced hurricanes for a number of years do not feel the need to evacuate their homes. This can be a good or bad decision depending on where someone lives and the size and strength of a storm. If you live in a low lying area or one prone to flooding in heavy rainstorms you may want to seriously consider if it is a good idea to stay in your home.
If you live in an area where there are no large buildings to shield you from some of the impact of high winds it may not be a good idea to stay in your home. Tornadoes have a way of following behind hurricanes and you don’t want to be stranded way out somewhere with no means of getting help or assistance.
Even a person living on “high ground” will be affected by the downed tree limbs and widespread power outages that tend to occur from a hurricane. It may not seem like a big deal to go without electricity for a few hours, but in some instances it can take weeks to have power restored. That can mean no access to news, information, additional supplies or prescription medications. If residential customers are without electricity after a storm, it’s more than likely that markets, gas stations and pharmacies will be as well.
Safety in numbers
In some instances staying safe during hurricane season means not being in your home alone. If something happens to the structure of your home and you are injured, there is a sure chance that no one around to rescue you and it may take several days or even weeks for help to come.
Even if you do not live in a flood prone area and have gathered more than enough supplies and taken all the necessary precautions by boarding up your home and moving trash cans, lawn furniture and other items that can become projectiles, you are not guaranteed to be safe riding out a storm alone.
For persons with serious health concerns and those taking prescription drugs staying safe during hurricane season means making sure you have all of your medications and that your prescriptions are up to date. For those with conditions that are exacerbated by heat, it is not a good idea to stay at home. While evacuating is generally seen as an inconvenience, financially and otherwise, it is better to be in or near a place where you can receive medical attention should it be necessary.
If you own a vehicle it is important to have it serviced at the beginning of the hurricane season to be sure it will not let you down on the road should you have to evacuate. Always pay attention to weather information and gas up at the first sign of trouble to avoid long lines. Gassing up early will also means you won’t be stuck out if the station nearest your home runs out of gas.
Even in the instance where it is not necessary to evacuate, it is always necessary to have certain essential supplies on hand during hurricane season. These include batteries, portable radio, flashlights, non-perishable foods, water, disposable plates, cups and utensils and cash. In the event you lose power, and you more than likely will, batteries will be the most important thing to have on hand other than water and medications.
It is recommended that you gather one gallon of bottled water per person to last for at least a week. The same holds for non-perishable foods such as crackers, dried fruit, tinned fish or meat, peanut butter, granola bars, dry cereal and any thing else that will not spoil or require cooking or lengthy preparation.
Staying safe during hurricane season means planning ahead and taking all the necessary precautions. Be sure to check with your state to see when tax free shopping days are scheduled for the purpose of buying hurricane supplies.