Three Essential Steps to Hurricane Safety
The months of September and October are the peak of the Florida hurricane season. These strong hurricanes can be devastating, not only to a single family but to an entire community. This is why it is very important to ensure your family’s safety and avoid any injury by readying yourselves and your property before a storm with these three essential steps.
Step one: Prepare
The best way to prepare your family for a hurricane is to create an emergency action plan (EPA). An EPA is a written plan or list for your family to follow when a powerful storm hits your area. On in this plan you should include where your family will meet if separated, options for a place to stay out of harm’s way and numbers to your local Red Cross or emergency management agency. The following are some tips on what to include in your EPA and how to help you prepare for a storm.
- Have two different locations for your family to meet when a hurricane hits. One location outside of your home and one location outside of your neighborhood.
- Have an evacuation plan in case there is a threat of flooding. If you have a pet, make sure to find and list available hotels so that you will be able to take them with you.
- If you do have to travel make sure you have an updated paper map with you to fall back on in case the storm causes cellular service to become unavailable.
- Fill your gas tanks before the storm hits in case a power outage occurs and gas pumps don’t work.
- Contact your local Red Cross or Emergency Management Agency (EMC) to find out how your town handles emergencies.
Step Two: Assemble a Hurricane Survival Kit
A hurricane survival kit can be a lifesaver if you are stuck in your home for several days due to a powerful storm. These kits should be made ahead of any storm and stored in an easy to access and easy to remember location. The best way to assemble one of these kits is to start off buying a few essential things and to continuously add on. A survival kit is never really full complete. Here is a list of important items to keep in your hurricane survival kit:
- Flashlight(s), battery-operated radio, generators and extra batteries. Be sure to frequently check on these items throughout the year to ensure they work properly when you need to use them.
- Three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for each person in the family. This means that there should be a gallon of water for every person for three days. So a family of four should have 12 gallons of water in their kit.
- First-aid kit that includes items like sterile pads, bandages, gloves, scissors, cleaning agents, etc.
- If you own a pet be sure to include some items for them such as food, water, leash, carrier, records of vaccinations, and dishes for their food and water.
- You could also include things for entertainment and other non-essential but otherwise helpful items, including duct tape, pencils and pens, paper plates, plastic utensils, toilet paper, feminine products, signal flare, blankets and sleeping bags.
Step Three: Protect Your Property
When a storm is approaching it is important to protect your property. Be sure to clean up the yard bringing in any items that could easily be picked up by the wind and thrown at your car or your house. It is also a good idea to trim any low hanging or weak branches from surrounding trees. This could reduce the possible damage to your property. To protect your windows from flying debris and heavy wind/rain board them up with plywood.
If you own a boat it is extremely important to make sure it is stored properly. Leaving the boat in the water or unsecured on land can lead to extreme damage. Be extra prepared for a hurricane, and find out how the marina your boat may be stored in prepares for these dangerous storms. It is also important to know what kind of insurance your boat has.
Hurricanes can be devastating to families and communities. Be sure to keep yourself, your family and your property safe by properly preparing for any storm threatening to pass through your community.