Each year, Hurricane’s and Tropical Storms have the potential of devastating areas of the Eastern Coast and the Gulf Coast of the United States and Mexico. These storms have the potential of doing billions of dollars worth of damage and killing many people. The key to surviving these storms is to be prepared for them well before a Hurricane Warning is issued for your area. To many people wait until a watch or warning is issued to prepare and find that the materials and supplies are not available in your area or prices are higher than they were prior to the warning.
There are several area’s of preparedness that must be looked at, including Food and Water, News and Information, Shelter, Medical Supplies, Transportation and Recovery. Each of these items may mean the difference between life and death. By preparing in advance for the coming storm, you can not only survive, but remain fairly comfortable during the aftermath of a disaster.
Food and Water – Food and Water are necessary to life. Preparing in advance is essential. In the aftermath of a storm, there may be no power for several days or weeks. Grocery stores may be closed, and help can take several days to arrive. By preparing a food kit and plenty of water, you will have what you and your family need to survive. Remembering that there may be no power or sanitary services available, you must plan on having a supply of food that does not require refrigeration. There are several ways to gather a supply of food that won’t spoil in the heat. Canned foods are readily available and will not spoil. You can also buy freeze dried foods at many camping or sporting supply stores, or Meals Ready to Eat at your local military surplus stores.
Clean water is also a necessity. You should plan on a minimum of 1 gallon of water each day for each person. There are several ways to provide this. Most surplus store’s or farm stores have plastic 55 gallon water barrels available to store fresh water. These barrels provide a great way for a family to store enough water for their basic needs. You can also use 1 gallon bottled water jugs. These are reasonably priced and will be able to be stored for several years until needed. These bottles can also be frozen before a storm and prolong the file of cold foods in your refrigerator. You may also want to plan on a way for cooking. A small camp stove and several cans of propane gas for the stove does a great job of heating up foods. Just be sure that you NEVER use the propane stoves in your home. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless odorless gas that builds up from burning propane, gasoline and other fuels and can kill you.
You will also need a portable radio to get news and information during a disaster. These battery powered radios can also provide a little entertainment while your without power. Battery powered flashlights also are a necessity to provide light during nighttime hours. You will also want to make sure you have a good supply of fresh batteries to last you until power is restored.
Your County, City or Town will probably have shelters available during the storm. These shelters will provide a good place to remain safe during and after a storm. If you decide to remain in your home during a hurricane, you will want to shelter in an interior room of your home that has no windows. A bathroom or a closet will provide good protection from the storm. Boarding up windows will also help to protect your home from damage during the storm. Remember, when a hurricane strikes, winds can be well over 200 miles per hour. The winds will be carrying anything and everything that is not securely fastened down. Staying in the interior room of your home will provide a good measure of safety from flying debris.
Plan ahead before a storm to provide for your medical needs. Do you take prescription medications? Make sure to have at least a 2 week supply of every medication that you take daily. There may be several days that you have no access to a pharmacy after a storm. Keep your medications together and ready to head to your safe area at all times. You will also want to have a basic first aid kit to handle any minor cuts. bumps, burns or bruises. Remember, it may be a few days before you can get help. Immediately after a storm, your Fire Department and Hospital may be overwhelmed with people who are injured. Help may not be readily available so take steps to protect yourself.
Transportation is another very important necessity that is easily overlooked. When a Warning is issued, people will be rushing to the gas station to fill up their vehicles and extra gas cans for their generators. Making sure that you keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full is very important. Gas stations only have so much gas, and once they sell out, it may be hard to find more. If you have a generator, keep your spare gas cans filled and stored in a safe location. Remember, never store gas in your home.
Recovering from a disaster is a very stressful time. Keep your important documents with you in a safe location at all times. This should include Drivers License, Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Health Insurance Card and Home Owners or Renters Insurance. These documents may be needed to get help from FEMA or your Insurance Company. Remember that surviving is the most important thing, everything else can be replaced.