Before the storm
There is usually plenty of notice before a hurricane makes landfall. However, there are several steps you should take to prepare ahead of time.
The most important step to take is to have a plan in place. This way, you will be prepared well before the storm hits and won’t need to scramble for supplies or wonder what to do at the last minute.
Here are a few ways to prepare before a storm:
Designate a safe spot. Choose a safe room away from windows to take shelter in when a storm hits. It’s also important to do your research on shelter locations in your area in case of damage to your home. And remember, many shelters do not allow pets, so residents with furry friends will need to find a shelter that does.
Anticipate power outages. Protect your electronics from power outages by plugging them into surge protectors – this way you can easily unplug them at once. And remember to keep your phone fully charged for as long as you can. Also, set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest temperatures. This will keep food fresh longer if the power goes out.
Install hurricane-proof windows. This requires a larger upfront cost but is essential for homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas. Hurricane-proof windows and shutters can prevent major damage to your home when a storm hits.
Prepare an emergency kit. Keep your emergency kit in your designated safe room. Here are some essential items to include:
- Water – enough to last more than a week
- Nonperishable food
- Extra clothing for yourself and anyone with you
- A first aid kit
- Batteries – bring more than you anticipate needing
- Chargers – include a generator if you have one
- Cash – in case ATMs are down following the storm
- Face masks – you may need these once you can leave your home
During the storm
Know what to listen for. A hurricane watch means an area could see hurricane conditions in the next 48 hours. A hurricane warning means an area will experience sustained winds of at least 74 mph within 36 hours.
Bring outdoor furniture inside or strap it down. If you can, it’s best to bring any patio furniture inside to prevent it from flying away. If it’s too big or you don’t have room inside, be sure to buy the materials you’ll need to secure the furniture beforehand.
Turn off your surge protectors. Once the storm hits, you’ll want to flip off those surge protectors. This will keep your electronics from getting fried during a power outage.
Unplug large appliances. Your large appliances (such as your refrigerator and stove) can also be damaged in a power outage. Unplug them to protect them from outages or flooding in your home.
Gather in your safe room. Get everyone into the safe room and bring any materials you’ll need that aren’t already there. Once in the safe room, stay informed by listening to weather channels – and only leave once you’ve been given the all-clear by emergency officials.
After the storm
Once the storm has passed, there are a few things you should specifically not do.
Don’t leave your safe room. This is worth restating. Even if you think the storm has passed, you should not leave your safe room until you are given the official all-clear.
Avoid bodies of water and large puddles. Be weary of downed power lines or electrical equipment.
Don’t drink tap water. Water sources can become damaged during storms. Wait to hear that it’s safe before drinking from the tap.
Hurricane season is long and can be nerve-wracking. The best way to protect yourself and your home is by getting prepared and staying prepared. For updates and additional information, visit the National Hurricane Center.
Learn more about the Choose Energy Writing Team. And drop us a line with any suggestions, questions, or comments.