The hurricanes and tropical storms of 2019 have already done monumental damage to communities across the country, and unfortunately, the worst is likely not behind us. Hurricane season is currently at its peak and more are expected to affect the U.S. before the end of the year. While we can’t control the weather, we can control how we react to it, and ensuring that you are as prepared as possible can help reduce the overall impact a hurricane might have on you and your home.
Have an Emergency Kit at Home and in the Car
If you’re staring down a hurricane, hard choices often need to be made. When there isn’t a mandatory evacuation in effect, the decision of whether to stay and weather the storm in your own home or to head to a safer area can be difficult. Choosing to leave your property behind when there is a serious chance of widespread looting before the wind even stops blowing is beyond the pale for many. If you do choose to hunker down and wait out the storm, ensuring that you’re prepared for a potent hurricane like 2018’s Hurricane Michael is paramount to your success.
First, you’ll need to put together a reasonable hurricane kit for your home. At the absolute bare minimum, you will need:
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- Rain gear
- A first aid kit
- Personal hygiene items
- A flashlight
- A multitool
- A three day supply of both food and water, though keeping up to a month worth on hand is worth the expanded storage space.
- Weapons and ammunition to effectively protect yourself and your property in the event of looters.
It is also very likely that you may become stranded in your vehicle due to blocked roads or rising floodwaters. For this reason, it is important that you also carry a scaled-down version of your home hurricane kit in your vehicle. Additionally, you may want to make a last-minute self-extraction from the path of the hurricane and keeping a hurricane kit in your fully fueled vehicle is a must for such a plan.
Take Stock of What You Have
Effectively protecting your home during a hurricane means knowing what you have on stock, what is expendable, and what you might need to ration in the event of a long-term survival scenario. If you choose to stay put during a particularly intense hurricane, there is a high likelihood that supply lines will be massively disrupted, leaving you only with what you have in your home to survive. However, taking stock of everything can help you make clear, informed decisions going into a stressful situation.
One of the more dire issues when it comes to long-term survival when supply-lines are cut and travel isn’t feasible comes from a severe lack of medical supplies and medicine. Fortunately, a good number of medical supplies are shelf-stable and don’t need replacing, so bandages are unlikely to be a huge concern. Medication, on the other hand, can run out faster than one expects.
Prescription medications are often doled out in small amounts under the assumption that the user will be able to refill that prescription at one of many pharmacies. Rationing prescription medicine isn’t recommended as it can have nasty side effects, so ensuring that you have at least a month’s supply on hand before a hurricane makes landfall is wise.
Generators are obviously a must for any prepper worth their salt, but investing in energy-efficient devices can extend the usefulness of the generator by days. Cell phones with long battery lives are especially useful as maintaining a line of communication if possible is important to an eventual extraction. Ideally, you will also have other avenues to obtain electricity such as a small solar panel in the event that the generator runs dry.
Develop A Solid Plan
While keeping a well-stocked home is a solid plan for survival in many situations, if things become dire and you have to self-extract either yourself or your family, education is the most important tool of all. Knowing the basics of flood safety and survival isn’t just important for you, but for everyone living under your roof; if disaster strikes, you simply cannot be the only one with the knowledge of how to handle the situation and expect a positive outcome.
Taking the time to familiarize yourself and your family with FEMA’s recommended hurricane preparedness documents will provide you with the knowledge of at least the basics of the various dangers associated with hurricanes. Though these government documents won’t have the final word on what should and shouldn’t be done to survive or escape a hurricane, knowing what their plans are can help you align your own with theirs to improve the likelihood of successful extraction.
If you have extended family in the area, establishing clear communication as to what the plan will be before, during, and after the hurricane will not only help you to survive but to thrive in the face of adversity. Making sure that everyone is well-educated and on the same page in regards to the plan, whether it revolves around extraction or staying put, takes an immense amount of pressure off of the situation.
Hurricanes are just a simple fact of nature. They come and wreak havoc, then communities rebuild. Fortunately, for those with the right mindset, a hurricane can be dealt with appropriately. Making sure that you have the right supplies, education, and planning can make the gale-force winds seem like a breeze.