A hurricane is characterized by high winds, massive amounts of rain, tidal waves, and potential flooding. These characteristics make it a danger to human life and poses a great risk for property damage. Because property can be replaced and human life cannot, let us look at some tips on hurricane preparation and safety.
Knowledge is Power
Hurricane preparation begins way before the storm begins. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the topography of the area around your home. If your home sits in a low-lying area, it could be prone to flooding during a hurricane and would not be safe to stay during the storm.
Take stock of the emergency shelters within your vicinity just in case you need to leave home. Keeping up to date on weather updates is also key to survival. This lets you known when the storm is expected to make landfall, how intense the winds are, and where the hurricane is moving. If an advisory is given to evacuate, you should do so without hesitation.
Reinforce and Clear
When a hurricane warning is issued, you should reinforce your home as much as possible to reduce risks of injury. This can be done by boarding up windows as well as doors you don’t plan on using. Reinforce the doors you do plan to use with strong hinges or latches. Reinforce your roof with hurricane clips.
Clear your gutters so that water can flow through freely. You should also clear things around your home that could be blown around or become potential missiles during strong winds. These are a hazard as they can be blown into the house thus putting you at risk of injury. The fewer loose items that are lying around the home, the safer it is for you.
You need to stock items that you’ll need during and after the hurricane. Prepare as if your basic utilities won’t be available, such as power or water. Items you should stockpile include first aid kits, drinking water, cash, canned food, flashlights, fire extinguisher, batteries, emergency generator, and a battery run radio. If you are on medication, have an adequate supply handy.
It is also important to have your phone nearby. This helps in case you need to call for help or just check in with family and friends.If you have a car, it should be filled up with enough fuel in case you need to evacuate. The car should also hold an emergency car kit to save time in case you are advised to evacuate. If you do not have a car it is important to organize a means of transport. Preparing beforehand reduces your chances of panicking. This increases your safety as you are able to make rational informed decisions.
In your home, you should stay away from glass doors and windows. These pose the risk for injury if they are shattered during the hurricane by winds carrying debris. The glass might cut you if you are nearby. If you live in a single-story home, the safest place is an interior bathroom or closet that’s near the center of your house. If you live in a two-story house, the safest place is a closet near the stairwell on the first floor. You can use a mattress to reinforce the door or cover yourself to protect you from falling debris. Clear the room as much as possible so there are no things lying around that could pose a risk.
While extremely helpful in our everyday lives, electricity and gas can pose a threat to life in hurricane conditions. In case of flooding, you face the risk of electrocution if power remains on. Gas pipes might also be severed during the hurricane posing a risk of explosion. Powering off gas and electricity mitigates these risks.
If you are told to evacuate, you need to get out of your home as fast as possible. Evacuations are called when your area is no longer considered safe from the hurricane. An effective evacuation that poses the least danger to you is when you have planned ahead. This would imply that you have a means of transport with the necessary supplies handy.
It also means that you know a secondary location to go to. It is wise to have several evacuation go-to points. This is because roads may be blocked or closed by the hurricane or some routes could be unsafe. As you leave, be keen to watch out for hazards such as tree limbs or downed electrical lines.
Hurricane protection requires planning and preparation. Therefore, having this information is vital to hurricane safety. We can’t control when or where a hurricane might occur but you can be safe during one by following these tips.