Hurricanes can be one of the most terrifying things to experience with their intense howling winds and damaging floods. It is always best to evacuate your house, especially with the more serious hurricanes, but in some cases, it is not always the most feasible way to escape nature’s beast. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it is important to have a safe room established in your home for all family members to take refuge in if they are unable to evacuate. Some people choose to have a safe room built by contractors for the specific purpose of withstanding hurricanes, but this can be expensive. For those of us without the extra cash to build a safe room, we can use a room already in our home. The room needs to be a sturdy one that is large enough for all family members, pets, and emergency supplies.
The first thing to take into consideration when deciding what to use as your safe room is strength. Hurricanes can easily collapse roofs with rain water or take them off with high winds, so it is best to choose a room that is on the lowest level, in the center of the house. The chosen room should have no glass doors or windows that could break in high winds, causing serious injury to anyone in its path. A small, interior room works well, especially a bathroom, hallway, or walk-in closet. You should also avoid places that are prone to flooding, like basements.
Before the hurricane hits, the room should be stocked with enough water to last the entire family for a few days, as well as food that can be eaten without cooking. Extra blankets and pillows not only provide a makeshift bed until the hurricane passes, but they can also provide protection from flying debris. Emergency supplies like a first aid-kit, a battery-operated radio, and games or activities to help children pass the time should also be in the safe-room.
In the few hours before the hurricane hits, storm shutters should be shut, or plywood placed across the windows. All exterior doors should be braced with plywood as well, and all interior doors should be closed. It is also important to turn off all electrical and major appliances to avoid damage and fire hazards. Then, you just go to your safe room and wait out the storm. Keep the radio on to listen for updates and to know when the storm is over. Do not use your own judgment on leaving the safe room. Hurricanes often have lulls, in which they appear to be over. However, strong winds can pick back up at hurricane force without any warning. So until you hear from the radio that the storm has passed, remain indoors, and away from windows and glass doors.