A Handy guide to Hurricane Preparedness

hurricane preparedness checklist

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Last month it was Florence, this month it’s time for Michael. Let’s not forget Charley, Katrina, Irma, and the whole bottomless list of hurricanes that shook all the US of A.

As scary as it sounds, this horrid cyclical phenomenon doesn’t really lift lots of eyebrows- USA is the budding ground for many natural calamities and states like North Carolina and Florida are very much storm-prone.

Hurricane Michael looks all set to strike the State of Florida and all we can do is wait for it to pass. The question that comes to minds of concerned American Citizens is that if hurricane is a recurring calamity, then why we don’t focus on hurricane preparedness?

Yes, we know that one can never be a hundred-percent prepared for a hurricane; you cannot keep your house under bubble-wraps and hope for the winds to pass. Collateral damage shall be there, some things just can’t be stopped.

But if we’re aware of basic hurricane preparedness measures, we can try to at least minimize the damage. Disaster management is an important subject that we all were taught when we were 12, but that level of knowledge doesn’t suffice.

With breakthroughs in technology and super-accurate forecasts, we might be able to control the uncontrollable in near future. But the topic of hurricane preparedness is very crucial for our people to survive what is one of the toughest tests of nature.

How to survive a Hurricane 101

Hurricane preparedness does not begin when you switch on the TV and realize that you’ve got three days to evacuate. If you think that’s the way- then you, my friend, are screwed big time.

Trust us, that sinking feeling when you realize that you forgot to pick the family heirlooms (or your dog!) when you were evacuating is the worst. Here are the things you need to keep mind while prepping up for a hurricane, for its hurricane preparedness 101!

Hurricane Disaster Kit

Here’s the full list of things that you shouldn’t miss when you’re preparing a hurricane disaster kid. For hurricane preparedness is incomplete without a backpack full of these necessities. Here are five very essential things that you shouldn’t forget in your right minds: (click here for full checklist)

1. Food

If you’re packing up for a hurricane, the first thing you need to survive is food. Don’t just open the fridge and dump it all in a bag. Try to pack up non-perishable canned food and juices. Don’t forget dry-fruits, they’re a power-meal that can fit in one’s pockets.

For infants and elderly, pack their cereals in water-proof, air-tight containers and keep only what you need. Hit the convenience store nearby and grab protein bars, they make great meals and are full of energy.

2. Water

Finding clean water in a hurricane sounds like a toughie. You’re supposed to have at least a gallon of water per person for each day for three to seven days. It’s a mayhem out there already with water cans going off shelves.

Fill those big canisters of soda with tap-water and keep them aside. If you’re too conscious to drink tap-water, buy yourself some soda! (We said soda, not beer) Those buckets with lids can do wonders in storing water, get a couple of those and that should be enough.

3. Clothing

Hurricane preparedness calls for pulling out those on-the-go camper tents, umbrellas and raincoats for each and every person, don’t forget sturdy shoes and clean pairs of undies. With cold 90-mph winds sprawling all over the place, keep heavy winter-wear with you.

Prepare for the worst when it comes to bed and blankets- pack your sleeping bags and keep extra pillows and blankets with you. Most of the relief centers just give your family a corner to stay and you have nothing but concrete, brace yourself!

4. Cash

Those greens are the only currency the world understands when it comes to hurricane time. There’s a 90% chance that ATMs won’t work, and cash would be the only way out. Keep small bills in handy and try to not be exploited by scammers and fraudsters.

Don’t show-boat too much money at the relief shelters, there are all kinds of people there and you need to keep your family safe. Try to buy stuff in full confidence and keep those $100 bills inside.

5. First-aid kit

Make sure you have prescription drugs in stock. Keep special care of your kin’s allergies. Make sure you have the prescription in handy when you’re evacuating, for relief shelters don’t give out meds without prescription.

Get your wheels ready!

If you’re keeping an eye on weather reports, the evacuation warnings have already been issued in hurricane-prone states. Here are some checks you need to run on your car before you set out to evacuate.

Take these instructions very seriously; you don’t want your car to break down mysteriously while a humungous water-cloud chases you.

1. Fill ‘er up!

Filling stations and their stock won’t be replenished for a long time till the hurricane passes by. So first things first, take your car to the nearest filling station and fill it to the brim. Get your spare-tire fixed and make sure there’s sufficient air-pressure in all four tires.

2. Car-health checkup

Call your mechanic and have him look over your car’s specifics:

  • Brakes
  • Ignition and Batteries
  • Exhaust
  • Oil and thermostat
  • Heater and defroster
  • Antifreeze levels
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights

While bad weather might shake the life out of your car, by running a mechanic check-up you are leaving no stone unturned on your hurricane preparedness expedition.

3. Driving through the hurricane

Okay, just to make it clear– Do not drive through the standing water unless it’s a matter of emergency evacuation. If you heed to the official warnings, it would never come down to it.

As for people staying at home while hurricane passes by, make sure your car is parked on a higher ground so that the hurricane doesn’t take it as a departing gift. If you have a garage, park it inside and close the garage door.

If it really comes down to driving through hurricane, follow these instructions:

  • Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel in windy conditions.
  • Avoid using cruise control.
  • Turn your headlights on in the rain, but avoid using high beams. Reduce your speed.
  • Increase the amount of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Treat traffic signal blackouts like intersections with a four-way stop sign.

If your car stops in standing water, don’t restart it. Collect your belongings and seek higher ground. Remember- no asset is more precious than you and your loved ones’ life.

4. Don’t have a car? Lyft is offering free rides!

Lyft is trying its level best to help the people in need by offering free rides. This is a very benevolent step taken by them as it isn’t easy for a business to work its way through natural calamities like these.

By offering free rides, Lyft is setting up a remarkable example for hurricane preparedness amongst people- After all; we’re supposed to look after each other in bad times.

What to do when Hurricane goes away?

When the authorities finally confirm that storm has gone away and it is totally safe for you to leave your house, you can check out the damage.

All those hurricane preparedness measures you took lead to this. And it’s better to follow these measures after hurricane passes:

  • As for evacuated citizens, it’s best to return home only after the concerned authorities tell you that it’s safe.
  • If you don’t have a place to stay, Airbnb Open Homes is the way to go. Airbnb is offering evacuees’ free place to stay with its Open Homes program, and you can register for it too.
  • Avoid brought down electrical cables. Stay away from electric cables and whatever it touches; including water or water puddles that might be near broken power lines.
  • Save yourself and your place from further damage. Seal the broken windows to stop vandalism and weather damage. Mastermind sensible transitory repairs.
  • If any gas lines were broken amid the tempest and a gas leak is suspected, stay out of the property until it’s deemed safe.
  • Be wary of any hazardous objects like fallen trees, sharp objects, or any high structures that might collapse.
  • Keep precise records of your costs and spare bills from your impermanent repairs. (Do not make permanent repairs until the point that your claim proficient has inspected the harm.) Keep clear records of any other expenses incurred.

In short, your hurricane preparedness is as good as done if you pack up what you need, evacuate when you’re told so, think rationally, and take care of each other.

Most importantly- stay calm, look out for each other irrespective of anything, and like all the other tough times, this one shall pass too. For when the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

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