With the hurricane season upon us, you will want to begin preparation early, stocking up on supplies, digging out that generator, and checking out those storm shutters for viability. Safety being your first concern, there are numerous things you can do to shield your family from possible harm.
If you live in an apartment, you will likely be prevented from “boarding up” since your landlord has rules against taking such action. Still, there are things you will want to do to protect your personal property and your own safety. Pull in all patio furniture from that concrete slab off your master bedroom, as soon as warnings are issued in your area. Park your vehicle away from other vehicles in the parking lot, if possible.
If you reside in a prefabricated dwelling, know that most are built to withstand no more than about 100 mile-an-hour winds. They may withstand stronger winds, but there are no guarantees. It is best to plan ahead where you will go in case a possible voluntary evacuation to a local shelter becomes necessary.
* It is never wise to stay in a mobile home whenever a serious storm is forecasted. Follow the instructions of authorities to evacuate if it is strongly advised for your area.
Stay hydrated and eat! Pack in plenty of nonperishable canned goods, high-protein bars, snacks for the kids, and a gallon of water for each person in the household times approximately 4-7 days. Gatorade is a good source of needed minerals, especially since high heat will be a likely factor when electricity is vanquished for days.
Clean all dishes and utensils. A few drops per gallon can be used to kill bacteria in water that cannot be boiled conveniently. Following the storm, fresh water may not be readily available for days or, possibly, weeks.
Don’t be kept in the dark! A Coleman lantern is safer than candles but, where the budget is restrictive, candles and butane lighter (in place of matches) will suffice. Purchase a good weather radio, if possible. If not, at least have a battery-operated radio. Be certain to keep plenty of batteries on hand of the proper size.
Be ready to move! Gas up your vehicle well ahead of the storm. There will be a run on the pumps if officials should order a mandatory evacuation. Retrieve enough cash from the ATM to travel, if it becomes necessary. In the case of a power outage, ATMS will not be in operation.
Breathe easy. Buy fuel for that generator and, plan to keep it outside for safety! Never, NEVER place it inside a garage or home! There have been numerous cases where people have died when they tried to use one of these where there wasn’t proper ventilation.
Prepare your home and property. At the first media notice of an impending hurricane, bring in all items that cannot be anchored down on the outside of your property. Tie down sheds, if possible. Park boats and RVs horizontally alongside, and as close to your home as possible. Trim all tree limbs that could possibly become airborne missiles.
If you have shutters, secure them 12-24 hours before the storm is expected to make landfall. If you do not have shutters to install, stay clear of all windows and sliding glass doors. Stay tuned to local newscast. Local forecaster experts will continue to broadcast throughout the storm, as it remains possible to do so.
Once the winds outside have reached hurricane speeds (74 miles-an-hour), gather your family and pets and retreat to an interior room or large walk-in closet. Don not attempt to emerge, no matter how tempting it may be, to check out the “eye” or, time of calm during the storm!
* True story: I had a friend who thought it was safe to come out during the calm of “the eye” as it passed overhead. Not wise. As he stepped from the safety of his master suite’s closet and, the ceiling in his dining room caved in on top of him!
Follow instructions of your local authorities by staying tuned to your radio for days after the storm and do not drive until it is deemed safe, – with power restored, roadways cleared, and all has begun to return to normal. Chances are good that roads will be flooded and, often, debris will be scattered everywhere. Downed power lines have electrocuted many people and many others have drowned when attempting to navigate in fast-moving water.