With the United States still recovering from a particularly devastating series of hurricanes that whipped through the southeast in the past few years, it’s clear that hurricane season is not something you want to ignore. The 2018 hurricane season—which, by contemporary standards, was quite mild—unleashed eight hurricanes in the Atlantic, two of which considered major (category 3+) storms. With 173 fatalities and over $50 billion in damage, last year’s relatively calm season still took a major toll on east-coasters.
Amazingly, however, the damage and death of 2018’s storms were minor compared to the year before, when Harvey, Maria, and Irma thrashed their way through the ocean, leaving over 3,300 deaths and $306.2 billion in destruction in their wake in 2017. Depending on where you live and the vulnerability of your home, you may be at risk of suffering hurricane-related damages this year.
With the proliferation of these storms comes more awareness, which leads to better methods of preparedness and safety staples that can help potentially high-risk areas come out of hurricane damage with fewer fatalities, injuries, and billions of dollars in damage. To help you get ready for whatever this year might hold, here’s your hurricane season checklist to keep you and your family safe should a major weather event put you at risk.
Food, Water, and Medications
In any emergency, you must always remember the rule of threes—three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. And, for the sake of your hurricane preparation checklist, a three day’s supply of rations and, if nothing else, the following three things: water, food, and medication. This stash will help keep you safe should you become stranded in your home with limited access to vital resources.
- Water – Though you never know how much damage a major storm might do, the general rule is to be prepared for three days or more. A good rule of thumb is to stock up on one gallon of water per person per day for any emergency. Consider investing in emergency water storage solutions and have some sort of purification option on hand, such as drops or a hand filter, just in case.
- Food – Stock up on plenty of non-perishable foods you can prepare with only what’s in your survival pack. Canned soups and dried foods are always safe bets when it comes to disasters, but remember to keep a can opener in your emergency kit if you plan to pack canned foods. Don’t forget to keep a backup stash of pet food on hand for your furry friends, too.
- Medications – Have at least a week’s supply of over-the-counter and prescription medications on hand at all times. Have a printed out list of medications and health conditions easily accessible to give to first responders if necessary. Keep all medication in a waterproof container.
- Protection – No matter what situation you find yourself in, protecting you and your loved ones from danger is incredibly important. In the case of a natural disaster like a hurricane, you need to be prepared for anything and anyone who might cause you harm. Having self-defense weapons like a stun gun or a taser on hand is a good way to stay safe from potential looters or burglars!
First Aid and Survival Gear
- A first-aid kit with a waterproof case
- An LED flashlight and extra batteries
- Insect repellant
- An emergency radio
- A whistle, airhorn, or handheld alarm
- Protective, waterproof clothes
- Waterproof boots
- A sharp pocket knife
- A pocket-sized multi-tool
- Emergency lighting
- Matches in a waterproof box
- An emergency blanket
- A power source, such as a generator
- Cash and personal documents
- A bicycle
- A fire extinguisher
Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season
Besides having a well-stocked disaster kit ready to go, you’ll also want to make sure your home is prepared for the barrage of wind, water, and hail that could be thrown at it during hurricane season. If there’s a big storm in the forecast, you can save yourself some serious trouble by preparing with the following tips:
- Devise a hurricane emergency plan complete with your evacuation route, mode of transportation, and packing list. Remember, when a disaster strikes, there’s no time to think, plan, or strategize, so do as much as you can beforehand. Put your plans in a clearly labeled folder you can grab quickly if needed.
- Trim any bushes or trees that could blow into your home or the neighbor’s home in the event of high wind. Weak, dead, or unruly landscaping is especially vulnerable to storm damage, and heavy tree limbs can cause serious destruction.
- Make sure your windows, doors, and garage doors are made to withstand high winds and heavy rain. If you live in a high-wind zone, make sure you have hurricane-proof doors installed on your home with several hinges and locks.
- Let a close friend or family member know your plan in the event of an emergency. That way, if they don’t hear from you, they’ll be able to quickly report an issue.
- Take a look at all your insurance policies and make sure that you have the most coverage for the type of damage you’re likely to see in your area. You may want to buy a separate flood or windstorm insurance policy to ensure that the most likely type of damage is fully covered.
- Buy a generator and learn how to use it. Energy from the grid is the first thing to go in a high-wind situation, so having a backup is vital. Invest in a solar-powered generator so you can charge your phone and have lights. Even a small portable one will come in handy when you’re in a disastrous situation.
Your Best Bet Is Always to Be Prepared for Anything
With the wicked storms that seem to be the norm in the new millennium, it’s impossible to completely safeguard low, coastal zones from the flooding and destruction of a hard-hitting hurricane. With that being said, preparation can seriously cut down on instances of death, injury, and property damage, so make sure you take the time to get ready before it’s too late with these helpful and potentially life-saving tips.