Annual Hurricane Preparedness
Here we are in May, again, and it’s time to start thinking about our hurricane preparedness efforts. For those of us who live in “hurricane alley”, these tasks are annual habits. Forming habits can be helpful, but sometimes they can make us complacent. Each year, it’s important to revisit your emergency plan, check your kit, and make sure your home and family are ready for the season.
Threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. Hurricanes can often undergo rapid intensification, meaning they can quickly gain strength before and as they make landfall. For this reason, it’s important to begin your preparation well in advance of an incoming storm. Before hurricane season starts, you should:
- Update your emergency plan with your family
- Check your insurance and strengthen your home
- Assemble disaster supplies
- Help your neighbors
Update Your Emergency Plan
Your emergency plan is a critical part of your family’s preparedness. It should include shelter in place details and/or evacuation plans, including a rally point if the family is separated for some reason. Each member of your family should participate in developing your plan, including the kids! Plan for medical needs, food, water, pets, critical documents, entertainment during the storm impact period, power outages… anything that may affect your family’s ability to weather the storm safely and comfortably. Make sure that you identify emergency contacts, including at least one outside of your area, and that everyone in your family has that contact information readily available. Write down your plan, and keep it handy along with any critical documents like insurance paperwork, a lease or mortgage, birth certificates, health insurance, and identification.
Check Insurance and Strengthen Your Home
Now is a good time, before we enter hurricane season, to check with your insurance company and make sure you’re up to date on your policy and the associated procedures. It’s also a great time to catch up on home maintenance: check your roof, gutters, and shutters, manage any debris, trim trees, and make a plan for any exterior furniture or loose items. The more of these tasks you can tackle now, the more time you will have for critical last minute preparations if a storm is incoming.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
Many of you probably already have an emergency kit and/or a “go bag”. Your emergency kit should include, but is not limited to, the following items: food and water for 5 to 7 days, prescription and non–prescription medications, a radio, batteries, chargers, work gloves and safety equipment, N95 masks, duct tape, and more. For a full list of items to include in your kit, visit Ready.gov.
Your “go bag” is an extension of your emergency kit and should contain items that would be critical to take with you if you need to evacuate on short notice. This includes identification and important documents, medications, a spare set of clothes and a raincoat, a first aid kit, cash, a multi-purpose tool, spare house and car keys, backup N95 masks, a flashlight, chargers, and a battery powered or hand crank radio. If you have a pet, consider a spare collar and leash, pet food, collapsible bowls for food and water, and any medications your pet may need.
These kits should be specific to your individual needs and the needs of your family, so be sure to give the contents careful thought!
Help Your Neighbors
Resilient communities benefit from collaboration and cooperation. As you go about your preparedness exercises, check in with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Making sure that your community is prepared will help make your family more secure as well!
What are your hurricane preparedness tips and tricks? Visit Love City Strong on Facebook and on Instagram (@lovecitystrong, share your experiences, and tag #LoveCityStrong so we can learn from you!