Between June 1st and November 30th of each year, people living in areas that are likely to be affected by hurricanes must prepare themselves for anything that the hurricane season may thrust their way. Hurricane readiness is something that cannot be done at the last minute: it is something people should begin to prepare for before the season even begins. By taking the time to prepare ahead of time, anyone will be able to make it through the storm, regardless of whether they are able to stay put or need to evacuate.
Here is a look at some of the most essential items people should have as part of their hurricane readiness regime.
*Homeowners insurance -
Make sure that you have an up to date homeowner's policy. Check with your insurance company to see if you need to add additional flood insurance, and make sure you understand the extent to which you will be protected in case you have to face that unimaginable prospect. Instead of insuring your home and belongings for the their value at the time of purchase, insure them for the replacement value. This will cost more, but it will ensure that you can replace anything that is lost because of the storm. If you only have insurance for the value of your possessions, there's a good chance you won't be able to afford to rebuild or replace lost possessions.
*Household protection -
This means you should have roof straps, hurricane shutters or boards to board up your windows. Don't wait until it becomes apparent that a hurricane is headed your way because anything you need will fly off the store shelves faster than you can purchase it. Make sure that you can protect all of your windows and that your roof is as secure as possible.
*An emergency weather radio -
Everyone should have an emergency weather radio. These radios are usually battery operated, and they can be incredibly helpful when the power goes out, but even more importantly, if a hurricane is going to make landfall in the middle of the night when people are sleeping, this radio can alert you while you are asleep.
You will need batteries for everything from your weather radio to flashlights and/or lanterns. You may also need them for electronic games, or for other things. Make sure that you have a stash of several different size batteries and that you have some sort of protective box or case you can keep them in to keep them from getting wet.
*Flashlights and battery powered lanterns -
In the event of a power failure, you will need to have some source of light. Flashlights and battery powered lanterns are your safest bet. You don't want to risk using candles - especially if there is a danger of gas leaks or anything else that could become combustible.
*Cell phone, extra batteries and a car charger -
A cell phone may be your only link to the outside world, unless you have some sort of regular radio. Even if you don't have cell phone service, you may be able to call for help by using text messaging. During the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, many people were found and/or rescued because they were able to send a text message for help when there was sporadic cell phone service on Galveston island.
*Bottled water -
Since you can't count on having drinkable water, you will need to have plenty of bottled water on hand. You need to plan on having about 2 gallons of water for each person per day. That may seem like a lot, but in hot weather when there may be no air conditioning, the water will keep people hydrated. It is more important than any food you could purchase.
*Non-perishable food -
You need to plan on having a stock pile of non-perishable food. When purchasing food, you may want to purchase individual serving sizes of various things even though they may be more costly. The advantage is that you can be sure that the entire portion will be eaten and there won't be any need to worry about refrigerating anything that is left. Although you may have a cooler full of ice, you can't count on that ice supply to last for very long - especially in hot weather.
Canned foods such as tuna, chicken, salmon, and individual servings of fruit, small cans of beans, vegetables and things that can be eaten without being cooked are best. Bread, peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, juices and snacks are also good choices.
*Paper products and garbage bags -
You will definitely need to have paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils because you can't be sure whether the water you would want to wash your dishes with is safe to use. Garbage bags are essential so that you can get rid of trash easily. You don't want to allow a lot of trash to pile up. That will create an unsanitary situation.
If you can't keep your hands clean with water, then you'll need to have some hand sanitizer. This is important because in the aftermath of a hurricane, sanitation can be a real issue. It is also a situation in which diseases can easily spread and spread quickly.
*Prescriptions and medication -
You never want to be caught in a hurricane without an adequate supply of your prescription medications. You never know how long you will have to go without being able to get a refill. If you have paper prescriptions, you may be able to fill a prescription if you evacuate and wind up in an unaffected area. You should also make a list of tall of the medications that any family member regularly takes.
*Cash and a full tank of gasoline -
You will need to have a good cash supply because you won't be able to buy anything if there is a power outage for an extended period of time. Having the cash and full tank of gas will also ensure that should you need to evacuate, you don't have to do these things at the last minute because countless other people will be doing that themselves.
*Any important legal documents or other important papers -
You want to make sure you've got all of your insurance papers, both for the home, car and family health, the title to your house, birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, social security cards and other essential stuff. Make sure that you've got a fireproof and waterproof box that can be locked so you can keep these documents safe.
Make sure you have a first aid kit, and that you fill your bathtub with water so that you can use that water to flush the toilet. A generator can provide you with some comfort in the event of a power outage, but you will need to have a backup supply of gas to power it. Make sure that you have plenty of food, important medications, batteries, a means of communication and some way to maintain contact with the outside world. You never know how bad the storm will be and how long you will have to endure the unpleasant conditions after the storm.