When news of an impending hurricane hits the wire it can be easy to forget certain things that may help keep you, your family and your home and your possessions safe and secure. To enable you to plan more efficiently for this type of natural disaster, below we have compiled a brief safety checklist—tasks you should always perform as the storm nears, as well as a list of supplies you should always have on hand.
Hurricane Preparedness Checklist
- Protect Windows. As you know, the winds of a hurricane can be fierce, which is why you should always secure your windows using hurricane shutters or plywood.
- Refrigerator, Freezer and Air Conditioner. Prior to a hurricane it is recommended you turn your air conditioner, refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. This will help keep food cold/frozen longer in the event of a power outage, and will allow the cool air in your home to last longer.
- Towels, Bedding and Clothing. Power outages resulting from hurricanes can be quite extensive in duration. Therefore, to ensure you’ll have enough clean towels, linens and clothing to weather the outage, try to wash all of these items before the storm arrives.
- Charge Cell Phones, Tablets. Communicating with friends and loved ones can be difficult following a hurricane, so make sure all of your essential devices are fully charged prior to the storm.
- Gas Up. Gas pumps can be negatively impacted after a large storm, which is why experts recommend that those in the path of a hurricane should top off the gas tanks in their automobiles and fill all available gas cans (gas generators may be needed until the power returns).
- Stock Up on Ice. Ice can be used in a cooler to help keep perishable food items from spoiling. One trick you may want to consider is to gather up all available water jugs, then fill and freeze them prior to the storm. These can later be used as makeshift ice blocks.
- Stock Up on Water. Having bottled drinking water on hand is essential after any natural disaster. Also, try to keep a few gallon-size jugs filled with water, as these can be used for bathing and other hygiene tasks.
- Test Generators/Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Generators should always be tested prior to a large storm to ensure they are working properly. Additionally, you should always test carbon monoxide detectors and keep batteries on hand that fit your particular model.
- Sand Bags. Hurricanes can frequently cause mass flooding. Because of this, make sure you fill and place sand bags in front of all doors and the low spots in and around your home.
- Designate a “Safe Area.” When a large storm worsens, it can often cause a fair amount of chaos. To make sure all of your loved ones are accounted for, designate a “safe area” within your home where all members can meet—an area such as a closet with only interior walls and no windows.
Supplies you need to prepare for a hurricane
Below is a list of supplies you should always have on hand in the event of a hurricane or other large storm:
- Radio—battery operated
- Batteries—all sizes
- First aid kit (fully stocked)
- Water—make sure you have at least one gallon per person per day.
- Non-perishable food products—at least a three day supply for every family member
- Can Opener—Manual/Non-Electric
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Formula and diapers—for infants
- Pet Food—including extra water
- Cash (Remember, ATM Machines may go down during a storm)
- Bleach—for cleaning
- Fire extinguisher (Test to ensure it is functioning properly
- Matches and/or Lighters (Kept in a water-proof container)
- Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
- Books, games, puzzles (to help both adults and children pass the time)
- Cell phones with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Whistle—to signal for help if needed
- Dust masks—can filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting/tarps/Duct Tape—for water protection
- Most towelettes/baby wipes—for sanitation and personal hygiene
- Garbage bags—heavy-duty for clean-up
- Chainsaw (Gas Powered) and/or Machete—for yard/tree clean-up