Guest Post: by ‘GrnMtnBoy’
When considering hurricanes, I like to break down my storm preparations into these time-line lists: the Start of the Hurricane Season, Hurricane Watch, Hurricane Warning, During the Hurricane and The Aftermath:
Start of the Hurricane Season
Have the ability to store and purify water: boil, plain bleach (8 drops per gallon, allow to sit 30 min.), filter, purifier.
Have pet carriers and/or leashes for all your pets.
Have a BOB (Bug out Bag) for every family member.
Have a sleeping bag for every member of the family.
Know how to shut off the utilities and have the tools stationed nearby to do this.
Tune up your generator.
Tune up your car.
Have a “Get Home Bag” in your vehicle.
Have pre-cut pieces of 3/4″ plywood for your “safe room” windows. (A “safe room” is a room in the center of the house (or down-wind) that has no windows or has covered windows where you can shelter and store most of the essentials you’ll need for the storm.)
Have paper maps in your glove compartments and know the route (with alternates) you’ll take in the event you need to evacuate..
Have branches cut from trees near the house that may pose a danger.
Have a number of coolers on hand.
Have rain gear for every member.
A supply of good repair tools, hardware, chain saw, rope, contractor trash bags and tarps.
Have a good first aid kit.
Solar or other charger for batteries, cell phones, radios, flashlights, etc.
Have a NOAA Weather Radio with alert.
Have a crank/solar/battery operated AM/FM radio.
Digital camera to record damage.
Check your insurance coverage.
Have a variety of emergency lighting (flashlights, lanterns, headlamps, light sticks, etc.)
Have working and tested smoke detectors and CO detectors.
Have a non-electric can opener.
Have an old-fashioned phone and a cell phone.
Have an alternate way of cooking (gas grill, charcoal, butane stove, Sterno, etc.)
Have a supply of matches or lighters.
Have a battery back-up or a generator for any sump pumps that are used in the basement.
Have a supply of sand and sandbags.
Have a manual method of getting water from your well or a generator for the pump.
Have sturdy work clothing, work boots, knee pads, hats, bandanas and durable work gloves for each family member.
Have sunscreen and insect repellent with DEET stocked.
Have fire extinguishers in strategic locations around the house and in the garage.
Establish plans for family communication for before and after the storm.
Have a per-established meeting place if the decision to evacuate is made.
Have material ready to brace your garage door against high winds.
Hurricane Watch (Hurricane conditions possible within 36 hours)
Fill up the gas tank in your car.
Get gasoline for the generator.
Start making ice in your freezer.
Begin loading the refrigerator with mass (containers of water, canned goods, juice, etc.)
Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting.
FINISH ALL YOUR LAUNDRY! (You may not be able to do laundry later without power.)
Start storing water (For drinking and sanitation – there may be “boil water” warnings.)
Do your emergency shopping (Don’t forget paper plates, duct tape, moist towelettes, contractor bags, plain bleach, tarps, plywood, Sterno, charcoal,sunscreen, insect repellent, rope, ice, matches, emergency lighting, batteries, etc.)
Food shopping: (Non-perishable foods that can be eaten without cooking)
Bread, NF Dry milk, peanut butter, crackers, jelly, granola bars, cereals, instant tea and coffee,canned juices, fresh fruit, bottled drinks, koolade, cookies, pastries, canned puddings, apples, onions, tomatoes, eggs (you will need to hard-boil these), canned stews, chili, pasta, tuna, bean salad, soups, canned chicken, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and canned evaporated milk.
Hard boil your eggs to preserve them.
Prepare some sandwiches in advance for quick meals over the next day or two (put in coolers).
Refill your prescriptions.
Communicate with all family members.
Withdraw extra cash from the bank. Cash machine may not have power later. (2 wks worth)
Recharge all battery packs and rechargeable batteries.
Have important papers in waterproof containers and ready to go if you have to evacuate.
Check on elderly neighbors and help in their preparations.
Refill your propane tank.
If you use fresh whole bean coffee, grind enough for two weeks or have a manual grinder.
Identify radio stations the will give you the best general and local information and monitor for up-dates.
Prepare your vehicle for evacuation if it becomes necessary.
Hurricane Warning (A Hurricane is Expected Soon)
Finish all laundry
Finish loading refrigerator with mass (bottles of water, canned goods, etc.)
Buy additional ice and load your cooler with drinks and food items.
Tie down or bring in loose items from outside. (Bring in your front door mat).
Close your attic vents.
Close your storm windows.
Close window shades and draperies.
Cover windows ( especially the safe room) with 3/4″ plywood.
Bring the necessary items you’ll need to the safe room.
Test your radios, flashlights and have extra batteries ready.
Distribute a headlight and a flashlight for every member of the family.
If you have to evacuate, be sure to shut off all your utilities before leaving.
Brace your garage door using plywood and 2x4s.
Monitor radio broadcast about the storm.
During the Hurricane
All interior doors should be closed.
Unplug all appliances once the power is lost and post a note on each saying so.
DO NOT ANSWER ANY LANDLINE PHONES DURING THE STORM! (Sometimes lightning is inducted into the phone lines at the pole which might cause the phone to ring. This could cause electrocution.)
Stay off the phone during the storm unless there is an urgent need. Don’t tie up the lines.
Avoid opening the refrigerator. Use the cooler instead.
Monitor local radio broadcasts – particularly stations that usually give the best local information.
Stay away from windows, especially on the up-wind side of the house.
Keep all shades and draperies closed during the storm.
Stay in the safe room during the storm.
Be aware of the “eye of the hurricane” (Don’t venture out if it should pass over your location.)
(Hurricane winds on the other side of the eye wall will come from the opposite direction very suddenly.)
After the Hurricane
Be sure that all stove burners have been turned (it’s best to unplug the stove when the power fails. After some prolonged power outages, house fires have occurred because the outage began while cooking was in progress. Later, during the power failure, items had been carelessly left on a non-operating stove and when the power was restored the heating elements ignited them.)
DO NOT GO NEAR ANY DOWNED POWER LINES.
Don’t eat any food from the refrigerator that has gone above 40 degrees.
Pay extra attention to sanitation after the storm. Paper plates and plastic utensils should be used during the recovery period. Keep surfaces clean using disinfectants and practice heightened personal hygiene.
Check for damage to the house, photograph it and begin making repairs.
Use alternative ways of cooking outdoors (gas grill, butane stove, charcoal, Sterno stove,etc.).
Test your CO and smoke detectors.
Conserve your battery power. The duration of the power outage may be a long one.
Check on your neighbors.
Call on family members.