Severe Weather Preparedness

Hurricane Basics

Prepare

Sometimes the simple things can make a huge difference when disaster strikes. Let's begin with the basics. Make a supply kit. What should your supply kit include? For starters, make copies of all your important documents in the case that you have to leave your home during or before a storm without knowing if it will still be there when you return. This should include copies of medical records, homeowners insurance and contact phone numbers in the case that you need to make a claim. Also, create a list of all of your utilities including gas, water and electricity. After major weather disasters law enforcement will sometimes close off certain areas to avoid loitering so have as much information as possible to prove that you are who you actually say you are and you will be able to re-enter your home and/or neighborhood.

Next, make a plan of evacuation. Storms can cause a loss of power for several days and sometimes weeks. Map out a strategic plan of where you would go in the case a flood or major weather related catastrophe were to hit your area. Be sure to make two evacuation plans, one for local and the other for long distance. When major hurricanes hit traffic tends to come to a halt on major interstates so if you limit your evacuation plan to outlying areas, you may be disappointed. It is very important to find local hotels on the power grid. Remember, if you are without power it is very important to realize that many hotels may be without electricity as well. This is why it is important to find one on the primary grid.

Invest in a battery operated weather radio. Local media will be reporting on current conditions, but why not be ahead of the game and listen directly to the national weather service. Emergency alerts can let you know of the storm's path and any up to date changes in the path as well. Remember to bring a laptop computer to your hotel or evacuation destination. Hotels offer internet access so you will be able to search Doppler radar satellites and weather maps without taking away charge from your cell phone. This leads to the next point. Don't forget to bring wall chargers for all of your cell phones, laptop and components that you select to bring.

Shelter Preparation

Hurricanes bring winds that can cause trees to fall, branches and limbs to become flying hazards which are very dangerous. Whether you decide to evacuate or remain in your home during the storm, you still want to make sure to prepare your home and property for the worst. Be sure to check your gutters and routinely clear them to avoid debris from limiting water flow from your property during heavy rains. Reinforce doors and windows in preparation as well. Hurricanes can tear screen doors from a home as well throw debris into windows shattering them so have plywood window covers stored away for when a storm comes. Remember, the purpose of this preparation is to avoid long lines at the hardware store, grocery store and being stranded in bumper to bumper traffic on the interstate. If it is within your budget, purchase a generator for your home. Learn how to use it when weather conditions are clear. Plan your storm preparedness with neighbors as well. You will find that team work becomes essential when tragedy hits. Hurricanes spawn tornadoes so it is not uncommon for one home to become uninhabitable while the neighbor's house remains standing. Therefore, it is imperative to work together so if a major hurricane does hit your community you are able to come together as a community. This will allow each of you to be an asset instead of a liability. Hurricanes form over water so it is important to understand this results in a major surge of water over land. Depending on whether you live in a flood zone or not, it would not be a bad idea to have a bilge pump on hand as well. This won't keep your house from flooding, but it will help you evacuate the water from your home at a very rapid pace in the case that it is flooded. Hurricane season is relatively short lived so it is very easy to forget about preparation until the storm is upon you. Hurricane season differs in time frame as well so it is important to know the dates for your region.

36 Hours Before The Storm

Keep in touch with family friends as much as possible. Cell phone towers may be knocked out during a storm due to high winds so try to make sure to have as much contact with your loved ones prior to the storm in the event that tower loss happens. If you do not have a land line, be sure to learn which neighbors do.