What you should do to prepare for a hurricane
Keeping alert to the warnings is your first and most important step. When the forecasters issue a "watch", this means that hurricane conditions are possible in the area alerted usually within 36 hours or less. This is issued
when the forecasters anticipate the track of the hurricane to strike a certain area. Once a watch is issued is the best time for you and your family to evacuate. Remember even if you might have "ridden out" a hurricane in the
past this does not necessarily mean that you should plan to do this for another hurricane. It is always better to be safe than to realize halfway through the storm that you should have evacuated. You also need to remember that once the storm is underway that local emergency personnel will not be able to come and rescue you should you find yourself in a dangerous situation. I cannot stress enough that a hurricane is never something to take lightly. After a "watch" a "warning" will be issued when hurricane conditions are expected in your area usually within the next 24 hours.
If you plan to evacuate or you are required to by your local officials you will want to have a plan in place so that when it is time to leave you are not scrambling looking for someplace to drive to. Your best bet is to pick more than one place to have in your evacuation planning. Some places to consider are a friend or relatives house in another town, a shelter or a hotel. Make sure that you have the telephone numbers of the places that you choose and some maps of the area handy in case you need to take a different route because of road closings.
Putting together your hurricane supplies kit
Making sure this kit is put together at least 48 hours prior to a hurricane and making sure that your kit is complete is most important. Make sure that the following are included in your kit:
*A first aid kit. You can make your own and keep it in a plastic container.
*Any medications that you or any other family members need such as heart medications, diabetes medications, and other prescription drugs, contact lenses and all the supplies you might need and if you have a spare pair of eyeglasses you should include them in your kit. In addition, any medications for your children should be included in your kit.
*Canned food and a can opener that does not operate on electricity.
*A two week supply of food is best and making sure that you keep in mind any special dietary issues that any family members might have is also important. Some foods you could include in your kit are dried fruits and nuts, crackers, canned pastas such a spaghetti-o's, canned soups, canned fruits, canned fruit juice and canned vegetables, boxes of cereals, peanut butter and jelly, boxes of powdered milk, instant soups, coffee, and hot cocoa, cereal bars, granola bars, pop-tarts, bags of pretzels and popcorn. You can also include pasta that you can boil in water if you have a charcoal grill or camping stove.
* Don't forget about your pets. Make sure that you have enough non-perishable foods for your pets and any medications that they need. Plan to also add extra water to your kit for your pets. Keeping some of their favorite treats in the kit is also a great idea. This will help to calm them and make them feel comfortable.
*Paper plates, bowls, cups, and napkins and plastic utensils.
*Plan on including at least 2 gallons of water per person plus extra for cooking. You also should have a two week supply of water for each family member in your kit.
*Extra clothing, raingear and sleeping bags or tents.
*Battery operated radios, flashlights, and plenty of extra batteries.
Preparing your house for the hurricane
In addition to preparing yourself and family for a hurricane, you will need to take some steps to prepare your house and yard for a hurricane. You should cover all of your windows with plywood rather than tape. The tape will not keep the glass from breaking and it is not the best choice for use in a hurricane. Plywood is a much better choice. During the year, you should make sure to keep an eye on your trees by removing any damaged or dead limbs. By doing this the dead or damaged limbs will not fly around during the storm. Bring indoors any lawn chairs, tables and umbrellas. Do not forget the kid's outdoor toys, lawn decorations, and the trash cans. All of these can be picked up by the wind and be blown around.
Make sure that you also fill your gas tank with gas and that you have taken some cash out of the bank before the storm hits. Once the storm is over the banks and gas stations might not have power for a week or so and if you are able to leave your house you will need to make sure you have enough gas and money to go to another location. Once the hurricane is over you should listen to the local radio stations for information. Preparation and planning is the key to any storm.
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