Hurricane Preparedness

Updated: Jun 2

Post Sections In Order:

  1. About Hurricanes

  2. Before A Hurricane (Advice & Suggestions)

  3. During A Hurricane (Advice & Suggestions)

  4. After A Hurricane (Advice & Suggestions)

  5. Product Recommendations

  6. Afterword

About Hurricanes

Let’s talk about hurricanes. What is a hurricane? Hurricanes, also called a Typhoon or Tropical Cyclone depending on your location, are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land with wind speeds over 74 mph. The strongest hurricanes can have wind speeds exceeding 155 mph! Hurricanes bring high winds, heavy rain, storm surge (rise in water level), flooding and tornadoes. These storms are dangerous and can cause damage to places far inland. Here in the United States, hurricanes wreak havoc on our Southeast, along the Gulf of Mexico, and East coast, from Florida to New York. Not to forget the countries in the Caribbean.

Hurricane Categories & Damage Explained

Before A Hurricane

Home Prep

  • If you haven’t already, consider purchasing hurricane and flood insurance to protect the life you've built and to assure financial protection from future disasters

  • Develop an evacuation plan

  • Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone

  • Plan several route options incase of road closure.

  • Trim back any low hanging branches and support any smaller, or freshly planted, trees with tree stakes.

  • Secure all doors and windows. Put some weather stripping around drafty doors or windows, and cover your windows. If you don’t have storm shutters, board up windows with 5/8” exterior-grade or marine plywood, on the outside of the house, or hurricane fabric. Make sure the caulk on the edges of your windows inside and out are intact. If not, buy some and repair it.

  • Stay tuned in to weather and local news, and follow evacuation orders.

  • If you have a fireplace, make sure the chimney flap is closed.

  • If you have a basement, consider getting a sump pump. Most of the time, the pump is on standby, simply waiting until it’s needed. When it begins to rain heavily, the soil around your house becomes oversaturated. Excess groundwater funnels toward the sump pit, and it begins to fill with water. This activates the sump pump float switch and turns on the pump. By removing water from the pit and draining it into a nearby storm drain, dry well, or detention pond, the sump pump prevents the groundwater from rising to the level of your basement floor, which could cause a flood.

  • If you live in a mobile home or RV, try to stay with a friend or family member in a safer area during the period of the storm.

  • Move personal, financial, and medical records in a waterproof document case. This also makes it easier to toss it in your Bug Out Bag in a hurry.

  • Purchase plastic sheeting, sandbags, flood barriers, and gorilla tape.

  • Consider purchasing flotation devices or even blow up boats that can accommodate yourself, your BOB (Bug Out Bag), family, and pets.

  • Secure or bring in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children's toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding.

  • Clear clogged rain gutters to allow water to flow away from your home.

  • Taping windows wastes preparation time, does not stop windows from breaking in a hurricane, and does not make cleanup easier. In fact, taping windows may create larger shards of glass that can cause serious injuries.

  • Turn off propane tanks if you are not using them.

  • Prepare for flooding by elevating items in your basement, unplugging sensitive electronic equipment, clearing nearby catch basins, and parking vehicles in areas not prone to flooding.

  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve.

What to Pack and Have Ready (Bugging Out)

  • Essentials:

  • Water - 1 gallon of water, minimum, per person per day

  • Consider buying a water bladder that can fit in your backpack

  • Food - non-perishables (energy bars, dried foods, MREs, etc.)

  • Manual can opener

  • Flashlights - Wind up or crank powered (best when also has a solar option)

  • Radio - Wind up or crank powered (best when also has a solar option)

  • Bandana - to cover your mouth or be able to wet

  • Knives

  • First aid kit - make sure to include burn creams/salves

  • Whistle - to attract attention

  • Extra keys - for your car, house, and safes

  • Currency - cash, travelers’ checks, and change

  • Important family documents - IDs, insurance, passports, and bank records

  • Hiking boots

  • A map marked with at least two evacuation routes in case GPS isn’t working

  • Prescription medications

  • NIOSH certified-respirator

  • Emergency plan

  • Additional Options:

  • Two additional liters of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning

  • Candles and matches or lighter (placed in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)

  • Change of clothing and footwear per person

  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member

  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items

  • Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and garbage bags

  • Prepaid phone card and/or mobile phone charger

  • Pet food and supplies

  • Infant formula, baby food and supplies

  • Activities for children like books, puzzles or toys

  • Medical equipment

  • Utensils, plates and cups

  • Water purifying tablets

  • Basic tools (multitool, work gloves, etc.)

  • Small fuel-operated stove and fuel

  • Moist towelettes and other sanitation supplies

  • Duct tape

Power Preps

  • Leave all of your devices charging.

  • Invest in a whole home portable generator. If it doesn’t come with wheels, buy the wheel kit for it. If you have an electric start one, make sure you have the battery for it. There’s a tri-fuel kit for some gasoline models that allows you to change the carburetor out to be used with propane or natural gas as well. Make sure to get ethanol free fuel for storage so the fuel can sit up to a year in the tank without gunking up the carburetor. You will probably have to get a generator outlet installed, outlet surge protector, and an interlock kit. The interlock kit switches you off the grid and prevents the power from flowing back into the grid, for safety reasons.

  • If you can’t afford a whole home generator and the hookup, you can invest in smaller, portable, generators for your electronics.

  • Make sure you’re stocked up on your standard batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V) and any medically needed batteries (hearing aids, etc).

Light Preps

  • Make sure you charge all your rechargeable lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps.

  • Stock up on soy candles, as paraffin candles are toxic and terrible for you, and oil for oil based lanterns.

Car Preps

  • Minimize driving, if possible, floods can sweep you and your car away.

  • Keep an emergency kit in your car.

  • Smoke Signal

  • Keep a mylar blanket or wool blanket in your car in case you get stuck somewhere.

  • Flotation device

Water Preps

  • FEMA recommends a minimum of 72 hours, but you should store a minimum of 2 weeks of water, as stores may be closed for a while.

  • Put a date on when you replace/refill your water containers, make sure to replace it every 6 months.

  • Try to use glass or stainless steel containers for your long term storage. They’re better quality and don’t leach chemicals over time.

Food & Drink Preps

  • You should store a minimum of 2 weeks of food and drinks, as stores may be closed for a while.

  • Stock up on disposable plates, bowls, silverware, and cups.

  • It'd be best to have an alternative cooking surface, such as a propane stove, so that if your power goes out, you can still cook and eat items. If you have a gas range in your home, it's not as necessary to get one, since you can still light the stove top with a match or lighter. Be careful of cooking indoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak, get to fresh air right away – do not delay.

  • Before investing all this money into food and drinks, you want to make sure you’re buying items you, or members of your home, are willing to eat.

  • Most store bought food has a short shelf life, so make sure you’re eating the items you buy and simply replacing them as you go through them. You always want to make sure you have extra of the staple food items such as: rice, beans, pasta, pasta sauce, dry ramen, sugar, unbleached all purpose flour, yeast, nuts, pancake/waffle mix, coffee, hot chocolate mix, and juice/juice mixes.

  • Make sure to check your food stores every 6 months to make sure your stocked items are still in date. This also helps make sure you eat the food before it spoils.

Communication & Signaling Preps

  • Smoke signal grenades, ham radios, signal mirrors, and strobe flashlights are some options to get attention from rescue services.

  • Make sure to have a rechargeable hand crank emergency radio.

Hygiene Preps

  • Have an extra bundle of toilet paper, paper towels, and baby wipes.

  • If you, or someone in your house is female, make sure to stock up on any sanitary pads and tampons.

  • Make sure you have some hand sanitizing wipes on hand to simply spare your drinking water, or in case you’re out of water.

  • Stock some body wipes, lotion, chapstick, and extra diapers if you have little ones.

Fire Safety Preps

  • It’s important to have some fire safety items, especially if you’re using candles, in a bad storm. The weather can also make it hard for fire and rescue to get to you, so it’s better to be prepared! Prepare some items such as a fire suppression blanket, heat resistant gloves, and fire extinguisher.

  • If you live on the second floor of an apartment, or have a 2 story house, it’s also important to have a second story fire escape ladder. We have a fire escape ladder and fire suppression blanket in each room upstairs.

  • Along with each ladder and fire suppression blanket in each room, we also have heat resistant gloves in our bedroom and my parent’s room. So that we can grab anything on fire or hot. Door knobs have the tendency to get too hot to touch in the case of home fires. This makes it easier for the adults to move around the house to get to any kids or pets.

  • It’s best to keep the fire extinguisher, fire suppression blanket, and heat resistant gloves under the sink in the kitchen. If you live in a 2 story house, make sure to have another set upstairs. We have one in our storage linen closet, since it’s outside in the hallway.

Medical Preps

  • If you take prescription medications make sure you have a 30 day supply of medication before the storm hits.

  • If you have medical equipment that needs electricity, I implore you to invest in a whole home generator, or multiple personal generators.

Pet Preps

  • Stock up on extra pet food, litter, and bedding for your animals.