If you live on the coast in an area that is prone to hurricanes it’s important to be prepared and to keep an eye on the weather forecast, particularly during hurricane season. If you’re new to the area, or if a rare hurricane is heading your way, here are some important tips to help you prepare and stay safe.
Know When A Storm Is Approaching
It’s impossible to be prepared if you don’t know what’s coming and when. In this day and age it is easy to stay alert to any severe weather threats including hurricanes. Hurricanes have the added benefit of being one of the very few natural disasters that we can see coming from a long way off. Set up severe weather alerts on your phone, watch the news, or keep up with the National Hurricane Center website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Secure Your Property
Hurricanes bring a lot of rain and strong winds with them. Use the time you have before the storm reaches you to secure your property. Bring in things like playhouses, toys or tricycles that could be thrown around and possibly into a window by the storms.
Before hurricane season starts, it may also be a good idea to evaluate any trees on your property and have them cut back or cut down if needed. If you’re prone to flooding having a few sandbags around to keep water from entering your home may also be a good idea.
Prepare To Ride It Out
Have a policy for when your center will close due to predicted hurricanes. If you plan on riding out the storm at your center and have not been asked to evacuate, make sure you are prepared to lose power and be stuck for several hours. Make sure you have plenty of clean drinking water and food stored. It helps to have food that’s ready to eat if the power goes out and you can’t cook outside because of the weather. In other words, stock up on some canned good and things like crackers, peanut butter and bread. Keep a battery operated weather radio handy so you can continue to monitor the situation.
Evacuate If Needed – The Earlier The Better
If you are asked to evacuate, don’t hesitate to pack up and head out. Things can be replaced, people can’t. The earlier you leave the better. You don’t want to be stuck in a lot of traffic with a huge storm at your back.
Make sure you know your evacuation routes well ahead of time and have alternate routes planned as well. Head to a shelter, if you must. These places quickly get crowded though, so if you have alternative options like staying at a neighborhood church, take advantage of them.
Have Emergency Contact Information Handy
Create emergency contact information including numbers for the local police department and emergency services, your insurance company, doctors and of course all families. Having these numbers with you will
come in handy when you have to leave at the spur of the moment. Don’t rely on electronic devices. Power may be out and a good old-fashioned binder with important numbers in it will come in handy.