5 ways to prepare for a busy hurricane and storm season
With what's predicted to be a busy hurricane season, being prepared is your best defense. Here are 5 ways to do just that.
Make an emergency and evacuation plan
No matter the disaster, be it a hurricane, flood, fire, or any other natural or human-caused catastrophe, having an emergency plan at the ready can save your life. Not only should the plan be in place, but it should also be practiced on a regular basis to ensure that if disaster does strike, chaos does not ensue.
Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room. If you live in an apartment, make sure to use stairs rather than the elevator. Identify safe places where everyone should meet if you cannot go home or you need to evacuate.
Other preparation should include:
- Confirming that everyone knows where the emergency kit is kept (and that it is fully stocked)
- Creating a plan with your children’s daycare or school—don’t forget about your pets
- Knowing how to turn off your home's water, electricity, and gas. Make large, easy-to-see signs for water and gas shutoffs as well as for the electrical panel.
- Making sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, and well-stocked first-aid kit
- Teaching children how and when to dial 9-1-1 as well as how to call the designated out-of-town contact
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a good baseline. To make it even easier, many organizations have templates that can help you put a comprehensive plan in place.
Prepare an emergency kit
We all say we are going to do it, but it seems that still about half of American adults are not prepared for emergency situations. First and foremost, you should have an emergency kit on hand, not just in the house, but in the car, at your vacation home, or any other place you may be when disaster strikes.
Within that kit, you should at least have water both for drinking and hygiene, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, medications, important documents, a copy of your emergency plan, flashlight, radio, first-aid and personal hygiene items, an extra cell phone charger, pet supplies (if applicable), whistle, pens and paper, and some extra cash. Of course, you should adapt the contents suit your particular needs. Many retailers and organizations offer ready-made kits to which you can add your own personal items.
Have a backup power source
It’s rather inevitable that the one thing we will lose during a natural disaster is power, and oh, how we have come to rely on electricity for everything from charging our phones to operating our home appliances.
A Generark combo will provide just what you need in order to supply continual emergency power. AzHomePower One will generate up to seven days of power on a single charge. It offers compatibility with three AC outlets, two USB-C outputs, one USB-A output, one for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, and a car outlet. It can be recharged from your vehicle, an AC outlet, or even the included SolarPower One portable solar panel. The easy-to-set-up solar panel features ultra-high 200W power output plus 50% higher energy conversion efficiency than traditional solar cells. It’s a must-have addition to your emergency preparedness kit.
Batten down the hatches
Or at least install storm shutters or impact-resistant glass to help guard your windows against things like flying debris, wind, rain, hail, and other forces associated with a natural disaster. Tornado panels can also be used to protect other exterior areas from the same dangers. Bring anything portable from the outside in, such as patio furniture, toys, and potted plants. And pruning trees and shrubs may help to reduce the potential damage both to the vegetation and your home due to falling branches.
If you live in a flood-prone area or if flash flooding is forecast, you may want to elevate any valuables that are at ground or basement level in case of fast-rising waters. And don't forget: water makes things float. Be mindful of what's stored where and how far it could potentially travel if it gets caught in a flow.
Get your car ready
At the first sign that disaster may be looming, head to the nearest gas station and fill up your car (or fully charge the battery if you have an electric vehicle). This way you will be ready to leave at a moment’s notice without the worry about whether you’re actually going to make it out of town or not. Until such time as you need to go, keep your car in the garage or under cover. Or if you live in a low-lying area, you may want to move your car to higher ground. As previously mentioned, keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and make sure that it is stocked with all the necessities. And if you don’t have a car, make a plan with a friend or family member who will help out in case of evacuation.
We truly hope that you never have to experience a natural disaster of any sort, but as with most things in life, the best offense is a great defense. Don’t be passive and think that it will never happen to you. Don’t “ride it out” and hope for the best. Rather be prepared for the worst, and you’ll come out better on the other side.