Hurricane season in the Atlantic is from June to November. If you live in an area that experiences hurricanes, hopefully, you have a plan for when an event happens. If you don’t have a plan yet, that is okay; you’ve come to the right place. By the time you are done reading this, you will have an excellent foundation for the upcoming season.
Family Emergency Evacuation Plan
One of the nice things about hurricanes is that they come with a long warning. With modern technology, meteorologists are able to predict the strength of the storm, its path, and the timing weeks in advance. The early warning is beneficial because it means you have time to evacuate safely, but only if you have thought about what evacuation looks like before the time comes. Each plan will be unique to the individual or family based on needs, but there are some basics you should cover.
Where Will You Go, Where Will You Stay?
The safest option is to leave the area until the storm passes, but have you thought about where you would go? Is there family or friends you could safely stay with for a few days? If you don’t have people you could stay with, is your plan to stay in a hotel? Would you be able to afford the costs associated with staying in a hotel and eating out at a moment's notice? Maybe the solution is to set up an emergency fund to ensure you are ready to stay somewhere safe without the added stress of figuring out a way to pay for it.
What People Do I Have To Help Evacuate?
Do you have people in your family that will require special accommodations? Maybe it is because they have a disability or are older, or perhaps you have young children who won’t understand what’s going on and who could be scared as a result. In any case, these types of situations could slow you down, so it’s essential to think about them beforehand. If you are able, include those people in the planning process to ensure the evacuation will go smoothly.
What Special Belongings Will I Need To Take?
No one wants to leave all of their cherished photos and belongings, and rightfully so, they have worked hard for them; however, you cannot take everything with you.
I would recommend getting some sort of file folder to keep and transport important documents or photos. Some examples of important documents include vehicle or property titles, passports, social security cards, birth certificates, and marriage licenses.
Go through the rest of your belongings and consider what has great sentimental value to you. Will those items be quick to grab and go? Will you have space for them in your vehicle? The most important thing to remember is that stuff is replaceable, but you are not.
Food And Water
Before the evacuation order comes, it is essential to have food and water ready to go. Many people wait until the storm comes and rush to the store in a panic, only to find out all the shelves are empty. Don’t let that be you. You could purchase water and non-perishable food items long before the storm comes, so it is ready to go at all times during the season.
Another option would be to purchase water purification tablets or a water filter and some freeze-dried meals. This option is lighter and takes up less space.
No matter what you choose, you should have at least 3-days worth of water available, and the food options should not require you to cook.
What Other Supplies Should I Have?
To ensure you are prepared for hurricane season, I would have a go-bag ready at all times. The goal is to grab the bag and be able to survive out of it for a few days. Some of the things you could keep in your go-bag include:
- Clothing (3-days at a minimum)
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Radio (AM/FM or NOAA)
A critical component of hurricane prep is ensuring you have proper insurance coverage. Not all home-owner insurance policies will protect against wind and flood damage, so you may have to purchase additional coverage.
Before the hurricane comes, you should also take an inventory of your belongings that you will not be taking with you. You need to make a detailed list and take pictures of items beforehand to speed up the claims process if your possessions become damaged. After you determine the value of your belongings, check to ensure you have enough insurance coverage for the cost of the items to be replaced. It will also be helpful in applying for disaster aid.
Prepare Your Home
There are a few steps you can take around your home to try and limit the damage caused by hurricanes.
- Trim light or damaged tree branches away from the house.
- Install storm shutters to protect the windows. (A cheaper option is to have plywood that can be nailed over the windows)
- Ensure exterior doors are hurricane proof by installing deadbolts that are at least one inch long and have three hinges.
- Have a way to anchor large items outside your homes like a boat, trampoline, mobile home, and furniture.
You can do several more things to prepare your home for a hurricane. The most important thing is a well-prepared home will be easier to evacuate from because you will have peace of mind knowing it will be there when you get back.
Hurricane season is almost upon us. When a hurricane comes, it should not be cause for panic.
Ensure you have the proper evacuation plan and supplies before the time comes to leave. Once you get a plan in place, feel free to do a practice run to ensure you have covered all your bases.
Prepare and protect your home from the hurricane with the proper insurance coverage and house upgrades.
Most importantly, keep you and your loved ones safe!