The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st and continues until November 30th with the busiest part of the season typically during the months of August through October. As seen from these recent years, being prepared for a hurricane is more important than ever. The steps you take to prepare not only your pantry but your property before a storm can make a tremendous difference in how well your family reacts after the storm.
Preparing for the season
*Each spring prepare your yard, trees and landscaping by pruning back any dead foliage and limbs.
*Prepare the area that will be used to store away any lawn decorations and/or patio furniture.
*Check generators for any maintenance or repairs that may need required.
*Do any maintenance on fencing and gates.
*Repair any damaged screens on windows and doors. During a power outage you may need to open windows and doors. Screens prevent the flies and mosquitoes from overtaking your home.
*Update information for your pets. Whether you evacuate or ride out the storm, make sure arrangements are made now for housing your pets.
*Update emergency phone numbers, keep them handy.
*Purchase or prepare coverings for windows and glass doors. Hurricane shutters are recommended. Plywood is often used for covering glass openings. If plywood will be needed for your home, purchase early. Plywood is a hot commodity when a storm has been announced and merchants have been known to limit supplies per customer. Wood will need to be cut to size which takes extra time. Purchase screws to hang plywood.
*Get Supplies. Do not wait until it is time to board up your home to get supplies. Chances are you will be in line with everyone else and supplies will be depleted.
*Have an evacuation plan. Have updated maps and notify family where you will go if you should have to evacuate.
*Keep up on vehicle maintenance including checking spare tires.
*Locate all emergency equipment and double check all equipment is still functioning. These items include items like battery-powered radios and flashlights.
*Have important documents sealed and stored in a waterproof container. Keep all of the documents in a safe location and know where they are. If you need to evacuate, it is easier to grab one container rather than search for items in different locations. Documents should include birth certificates, insurance policies, social security cards, medical records titles and deeds.
*Prescriptions and over the counter medications such as aspirin.
*Cash (no electric means no ATM machines)
*Fuel up vehicles and gas cans for generators.
*Tarps, 1 x 2 slats of wood and short nails. These items will make covering a roof simple if roof damage should occur. Nail the 1 x 2 slats over the tarp to hold it in place.
*Rope can be used to tie down large pieces of outdoor furniture that you may not have space to store.
*Food, Water and Ice. Non-perishable food such as canned goods, bread and packaged snacks. Don't forget the instant coffee for the coffee drinkers. Enough drinking water to last 7 days is recommended. You will need one gallon per person for each day. Have plenty of ice for coolers to keep items cool and to use in drinks.
*Non-drinking water. Fill up every container including bathtubs, buckets and pans because non-drinking water will be needed. This water will be used for everything from bathing, cleaning hands and even flushing toilets. After days with no electric in scorching weather, a cool bath will be a welcome treat. If your water source is a well, extra will be needed. No power means no pump which means no running water.
*Batteries. Will be needed for flashlights, radios and even handheld games to keep children occupied. Avoid candles if at all possible. Every year homes are destroyed after the storm due to fires caused by candles.
*Wipes. Handy wipes and/or baby wipes.
*Car charger for cell phones.
*Pet supplies, purchase plenty of food and water.
*Games. Keep the family occupied with games, cards and puzzles.
*Charcoal and lighter fluid for outdoor grills or propane for gas grills.
*Infant care items. If you have an infant, stock up on diapers, formula and baby food.
*Telephone. A traditional corded telephone, not cordless. There will be no power to use a cordless telephone.
*Fans. Battery powered fans are not a necessity but are a small comfort during the hot nights.
*Fix-a-flat and/or tire patch kits. Venturing out on roads can be hazardous. The roads will be filled with debris including nails.
*Miscellaneous Items. Plastic/paper plates, eating utensils, cups, non-electric can opener, work gloves for yard clean-up, hygiene items for personal use, tools, mosquito repellant, and rubber boots.
Many of the instructions and suggestions provided are recommended by official sources such as the National Weather Service, while others have been recommended by persons who have personally lived through one of these massive storms. Should you live in the path of an oncoming hurricane, prepare early and wisely, and never underestimate the strength of a hurricane.