Hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts until November 30th. For those five months, people who live in any area where hurricanes pose any kind of threat, regardless of whether it is a direct threat or the threat from storm related feeder bands and other problems, finding a safe place to stay while at home is an important consideration. Most homes in hurricane prone areas don’t have basements, but a basement might not be the safest place, especially if there is any possibility of flooding in that basement. If you live in an area where you may be subject to a direct or indirect hit from a hurricane, part of your hurricane readiness preparations should involve finding a safe and secure place in your home to stay if you don’t have to evacuate.
In most places, a mandatory hurricane evacuation order won’t be issued unless there is a threat of a category three hurricane or worse. For that reason, many people will opt to stay at home rather than head to a shelter for minimal to moderate hurricanes. That being said, as long as precautions are taken to batten down the hatches and secure the home to the greatest possible extent, unless you live in a very low lying area where flooding from storm surges will flood your home, you can create a safe haven in which you and your family can gather to wait out the storm.
Avoid staying in any room where there are windows or other things that become projectiles when the windows break because of the intensity of the wind. Avoid staying on an upper floor because you could be seriously hurt if the roof of your house was to collapse. A collapsed roof isn’t an uncommon occurrence during the hurricane season.
*What to look for when considering a safe place in your home –
You should also go to a windowless place on the interior of your home. The strength of winds can cause windows to break and you don’t want to be in a place where you could be hit by flying glass or other debris. You should close blinds, curtains or drapes on all windows and don’t open them until you are sure that the storm has passed. Avoid places that may be prone to flooding.
WHERE TO GO –
*A windowless interior bathroom –
A windowless bathroom that is away from exterior walls can be a good place because there will be plumbing pipes that can provide additional protection besides the heavy walls. Moreover, this is the place that weather authorities often recommend that people go to during tornado warnings – especially when there is no basement.
*An interior closet
A closet can also be a good place to go for protection when you need to wait out a hurricane. If you have a large walk-in closet, gather blankets and pillows, plenty of non-perishable food, hand sanitizer, napkins, paper plates and plastic utensils, plenty of water and flashlights, batteries, a battery powered radio and your cell phone. A weather radio can be very handy at a time like this as well.
*A windowless hallway –
If you don’t have a bathroom or a bedroom or other closet that is not on an outside wall or that doesn’t have windows, look for a hallway on the interior of your home. You want to be in a place where there are no windows and where you can’t be hurt if a roof or outside wall was to collapse.
*Under a stairwell –
If you have a two story home, you may find that the safest place, other than an interior room may be a stairwell, provided it isn’t too close to windows or a door. A closet or alcove under a staircase can be a great place to go for safety during a home. Bring in plenty of pillows, blankets and a mattress if one will fit, because you can always use a mattress to cover yourself and your family as a means of protection from flying objects.
*Creating an in-home storm shelter –
Some people may choose to spend the money to have a place in their home reinforced so that it is more secure and offers greater safety from both hurricanes and tornadoes. These reinforced places are designed to withstand strong winds and flying debris, allowing you to be safer than you would otherwise. These are basically an indoor equivalent to the old outdoor storm or bomb shelters. You might not want to be in an underground place if flooding is a likely possibility.
Most of all, when staying in your home during a hurricane, you need to exercise many of the same precautions that are used for tornado warnings. Have mattresses on hand so that you can use them both to sleep on and to cover yourself with if the need for protective cover should arise. You may also want to have blankets and pillows. Be sure you have plenty of water and a hurricane readiness kit that is filled with non-perishable foods, medications that people may need, batteries, flashlights or battery powered lanterns, a NOAA weather or other radio and things to keep people entertained such as cards or board games.
With a hurricane, don’t be fooled by what may seem like a lull because that may merely be the eye of the storm and the worst is yet to come. Don’t be foolish enough to go out during the storm because you have all of the elements of a tornado and more. Remain indoors until you hear something on the radio that advises you that it is safe to go outside. When you do venture out, be on the lookout for downed power lines, broken windows and other debris that can inflict injury, and never touch a power line because it is probably still live.