With hurricane season in full swing for many coastal towns and cities, it’s important to be prepared in case you need to evacuate. You should know where to go, and be familiar with the local evacuation route. If you have any questions or need more in depth knowledge about your particular area, contact your local emergency management agency, or visit ready.gov for more detailed information.
Before a Hurricane Strikes
Before a massive storm or hurricane is on the radar, you should have an emergency plan in place. Create a basic disaster supply kit, which should include a flashlight, extra batteries, food, water, an extra charger for your phone, a backup GPS, and first aid supplies. If there is a hurricane approaching within 36-48 hours, make sure your car is in good working order, and fully stocked with extra clothes and a full tank of gas. A car top carrier or roof rack is a good investment, because it increases the carrying capacity of your vehicle. This allows you to bring more supplies, without taking up any interior passenger space.
Prep the Exterior of Your Home
If you know a hurricane is 18-36 hours away, purchase marine or exterior grade plywood to protect the windows and doors, and bring in any loose or lightweight objects, like patio chairs, tables, and garbage cans. Anchor items like propane tanks, which may not be safe to bring inside. It’s also a good idea to trim or remove any tree branches that are close enough to fall on your home. As the hurricane moves closer, ensure your phone battery is fully charged in case you lose power. You should also crank up your freezer and refrigerator settings to the coldest setting and only open the doors if necessary. Should you lose power, the food will keep for longer. Have a thermometer on hand to check the food temperature when power is restored.
Be Prepared to Spend Hours on the Road
Stay up to date with the weather, as hurricanes can form and move quickly. If this is the case, you may be under a mandatory evacuation, and the highways will be packed. If there isn’t an alternate route, ensure your vehicle is properly supplied. Have food, drinks, pillows and blankets, and maybe a few car games to keep a stressful situation from getting worse. You may also want a few cans of gasoline ready to ensure you don’t run out of fuel while idling in traffic.
If you have a pet with you, plan for them as well, and never leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.
If a community evacuation is deemed mandatory, your local officials will provide all necessary information through the media. In some cases, other warning messages will also be used, including sirens, text alerts or emergency telephone calls.
The amount of time you will have to pack up and go will vary depending on the speed and severity of the hurricane. Many times if it’s an emergency evacuation you will have little to no time, which is why it’s important to keep an emergency kit on hand or stored in your vehicle; planning ahead is a necessity.
If you have time before you need to leave, unplug all electronic equipment and change into more protective clothing, like supportive shoes and long pants.
Stay Safe this Season
With proper planning and a good emergency preparedness plan, you and your family can stay safe in an emergency scenario. If you have any further questions or would like further information, the National Hurricane Center and your local authorities are an excellent resources.
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