Regarding hurricane prep, I say, “It’s always better to have prepared for nothing.” Use these 6 tips to help prepare for a hurricane, and hope that it was a “waste of time”.
I grew up in South Florida, where you’ll find some of the world’s most famous beaches. The tropical climate lends itself to beautiful Summer nights, BBQ’s by the pool and a moderate climate during the Winter. There are some of the best museums and shopping to experience in the country. And, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family or retire.
If you’ve ever lived in Florida, you know all the particulars of what a hurricane is, why they occur and have likely had some real-life experience. For those of you who are lucky enough to have never been in one’s path, a hurricane can be life-changing. According to the National Ocean Service, “a hurricane is a type of storm called a tropical cyclone, which forms over tropical or subtropical waters.” There are different categories of storms, that escalate with their wind force.
Tropical Depression – winds under 39 miles per hour
Tropical Storm – winds more than 39 miles per hour
Hurricane – winds more than 74 miles per hour
For Every Season…
Familes who live in commonly affected areas know that June 1 – November 30 is hurricane season. That means that during those five months, there could be anywhere from 10-20 tropical cyclones that threaten the area.
Being properly prepared can make all the difference in the world.
1. Hurricane or Not, Buy a Solar Charger.
During a hurricane, the phone lines and power often go out. Due to downed power lines, it can take some time to safely restore functionality. But the sun will always reappear each day! A good quality solar charger will also work even when weather conditions aren’t optimal. I found this portable solar charger is powerful enough to charge even with cloud coverage. What’s more, it’s not just for hurricane season. Sometimes there are just random power outages during the year. Knowing that I can always charge my phone is very reassuring.
It’s in the Bag!
Many years ago, before my kids were even born, I created a bag to hold important items that would be easy to grab in case of emergency. In an emergency, it would be highly unlikely to have the where-with-all to stop and think about what to take, let alone have the time to do so.
So, I created the emergency backpack. I chose a backpack so that one’s hands can be free to do whatever else is needed. In the emergency backpack, I keep important documents, passports, birth certificates and other things of that nature.
It’s crucial that everyone in the house know where this bag is kept. It’s also important that the bag be kept in a place that is easily accessible, preferably in a closet near an exit of the home. I’ve created an Instant Download for you! You can download my Emergency Backpack List here.
3. Make Copies!
Amongst all the tips to help prepare for a hurricane, this is one of the most important. Make copies of all important papers. To begin, this includes passports, birth certificates, a list of where you have bank accounts and credit cards, insurance details and medical information. Send the copies to at least one family member or trusted friend.
The best is to take the double approach. Give a copy to someone who lives nearby for convenience. And, give a second copy to a person who lives further away, in case your entire area is affected.
What about cloud services? Keeping everything in the cloud is great, but hard copies are important too. Internet capabilities can be affected by a storm and you don’t want to get locked out of accessing your information.
4. Hurricanes Affect Supply and Demand
I want to share a system with you that I’ve used for years. Being in the habit of staying stocked all year long with certain supplies will help you out. If storage space permits, keep some extras of essentials on hand, like toilet papaer, bath soap and toothpaste.
We don’t have a lot of space in our small apartment, but in the linen closet, I keep some extras. It doesn’t mean that we don’t use those extras. Instead, we use them, so things are always replenished with new ones. But having extras on hand means that we will never run out. This is especially important if there is inclement weather that prevents us from heading out to the store.
Check out the array of camping supplies that could also be useful in an emergency bag. I keep some of these items on-hand all year such as soap sheets, water purifier tablets, a camping lantern, a first aid kit and more.
5. Are You a Number Cruncher?
When I was a kid and we had to manually enter phone numbers to make a call, I must have had hundreds of phone numbers memorized.
Nowadays, since phones can store countless contacts, I don’t even know the phone numbers of many people I speak to on a daily basis. Every household should have a physical phone book full of important contact numbers. In the front cover, write: “In case of emergency, please contact…….” At a minimum, keep a printout of important numbers on the refridgerator (or near a land-line, if you have one). I would also recommend writing the home address in case a house guest needs to make an emergency call.
Further to that point, every single person, young or young-at-heart, should have their own personal little phone book in case they get caught without their phone or with a phone that’s run out of battery.
6. Who Would Have Thought!
Many times during hurricanes, incoming clean water can be affected. City water lines break under storm pressure rendering water from the tap unfit for use.
Here is one of the best and most useful pieces of advice I’ve learned over the years. If a storm hits, fill a large outdoor garbage can with water to be used for non-food related things, such as to clean the floors or, more importantly, to clear the toilets.
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
It goes without saying, that we hope to never have to use any of the preporatory steps we’ve taken. Better to make all the efforts to properly prepare for a hurricane, for absolutely nothing.
I’d like to thank all those involved in keeping everyone informed and safe, before and in the aftermath of hurricanes and other weather phenomena. This includes, but is not limited to: front line workers, police, fire department, governmental agencies and utility companies.
And, of course, we have to thank the meteorolgists. In the Summer of 1982, at the young age of 12-years-old, I watched in fear as Hurricane Andrew approached South Florida. When a direct hit became imminent, there was one person in particular who was at the forefront of disseminating crucial play-by-play information to residents. Every Floridian who lived there at the time will tell you that it was none other than the now famous meteorologist, Bryan Norcross. To this day, I think of him during this time of year.
The destructive Category 5 storm was clocked at nearly 175 miles per hour and left Miami-Dade County devastated, with an unthinkable amount of damage exceeding 25 billion US dollars. Just as Hurricane Andrew forever changed South Florida that Summer, Bryan Norcross set the standard for storm coverage for all time.
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