Hurricanes are as worse as they come, tearing through structures, homes, and in some cases, people’s livelihood. However, taking actionable steps in the wake of a hurricane threat will minimize potential damage, help to protect your family, and may even save a life.
In case you’re unaware, a hurricane is a tropical cyclone storm, forming over subtropical waters. Hurricanes bring with them strong winds and rain, often causing flooding as wind damage is also dealt. For this reason, hurricanes are very dangerous, and it’s, therefore essential to take action early.
This article will explain what to do in the event of a hurricane threat, first discussing when the hurricane season is to help you best prepare.
When is the hurricane season?
In the United States, hurricane season typically runs from June 1st to November 30th. However, it can be slightly longer or shorter. It’s entirely dependent on the current season. Nonetheless, not preparing before the season starts is a recipe for disaster; hurricanes can hit at any point throughout the year, but are more likely to hit during the ‘hurricane season’.
It’s worth creating an evacuation plan with your family or close friends, if you live alone. As you would do in the event of a fire, have a strategic, well-thought plan of action. Perhaps decide on a safe place to hide (if needed), how you plan to evacuate (if it’s safe), and what you’ll do if the hurricane gets progressively worse and presents real danger.
The 24-36 hour watch - the calm before the storm
Usually, before a hurricane begins, a threat is issued. This is usually within a 24-36 hour period.
During this time, it’s essential to prepare the best you can. Some things you can do to prepare include:
- Purchasing any last-minute emergency supplies - you should already have a supply throughout the year, as these tend to sell quickly at the last minute. However, if you need to top up your supply once a warning is issued, now is the time to do so.
- Charge your cellphone - in the event of a hurricane, contact is essential - don’t get caught out and charge your phone beforehand
- Fill up your car with gasoline - in the event of an evacuation, it’s worth having a full tank to minimize stops (you don’t want to become stranded at the side of the road)
- Make a note of your insurance provider (phone number and name) - also create an inventory list for your home, in the event that your property is damaged (this allows the insurance process to run much smoother, if required)
- Board up any doors and windows, remove dangerously large branches from trees, remove outdoor furniture, lawn items, and planters, and dangerous objects away from the windows and other entry points such as windows
- Turn on the TV or radio, or better a NOAA weather radio and listen for updates and critical information
- Do not try to take a boat to evacuate, this is extremely dangerous
What to do if an evacuation is required
If an evacuation is required, which you will find out when listening to the radio, it’s important to act quickly and be prepared.
Some evacuation tips include:
- Get moving as quickly as possible - it’s common for shelters to fill up quickly and for roads to become jammed, act quickly to avoid this
- Bring survival supplies with you - food, water, warm clothing, first aid kit etc.
- Lock all doors and windows on your home - just because there’s a hurricane does not mean looters won’t pounce at the opportunity
- Take any important documents with you e.g. insurance documents and insurance policies
What to do if you have missed the evacuation or cannot evacuate
If you have missed the opportunity to evacuate or the storm developed so quickly it was not possible, there are also things you can do to increase the safety for yourself, your property, and your family.
- Stay away from doors and windows - find somewhere safe to stay put, remaining away from any entry points, especially away from glass
- If you have a panic or a ‘hurricane room’ (yes this is a thing) then now’s your time to shine
- Stay informed and listen to the TV or radio for regular updates
Once the storm has passed, dangers still remain
Just because the hurricane has passed, this does not mean it’s not dangerous. Beware of outdoor and indoor hazards, including fallen trees, fallen or broken awnings, dangling power lines, weak structures (including bridges), and washed-out roads.
Likewise, throw away any spoilt food (due to a power outage) and boil municipal water before drinking, until told the water is safe for consumption.
If it is safe to do so, and your property has been damaged, now is the time to contact your insurance provider, informing them of the situation and creating an actionable plan alongside them.
Remember to stay vigilant during this process, perhaps finding a safer place to stay in the meantime.