Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are all names for the same type of powerful tropical storms. Hurricanes develop in the Atlantic or Pacific as a result of warm, humid air meeting cold water and other atmospheric conditions. Hurricanes can be devastating — causing loss of life, property damage and disruption to everyday life. They’re also unpredictable; it’s not possible to predict where or when exactly they will strike so it’s important to know how to prepare for a hurricane and plan for its aftermath. In the event of a hurricane, you need to know what precautions you need to take and where you should seek shelter. It is recommended that you keep an emergency kit in your home at all times with essential supplies such as water and non-perishable food; flashlights; batteries; first aid kit; blankets; clean drinking water (one gallon per person); a battery-powered radio; cash (small bills) and essential medications; rainproof jacket; readable books, board games or cards; documents in waterproof sleeves such as copies of passport, driver’s license, proof of address and identification numbers for bank accounts etc.; standard operating procedure information on how to shut off utilities if necessary (and where the switches are); etc. Keep these items stored in waterproof containers or plastic bags which you can easily access if need be.
Hurricane season is between June and November, but they can strike anytime. This is why it’s essential to stay informed of any hurricanes in the area. Take note of the National Hurricane Center’s forecasts, and follow the advice of your local authorities. One of the best ways to remain informed about hurricanes and other tropical storms is to sign up for free email alerts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC issues regular forecasts and warnings about tropical storms in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. Their website also has information about the signs and symptoms of storm-related injuries, as well as tips on how to avoid them. Another good source of information is your local news media, as they will keep you updated on the latest developments.
Have a plan in place
Find out if you’re in the path of the hurricane and make sure you know where to go when it arrives. Determine what evacuation zone you’re in and make sure you know where to go when the hurricane is approaching. If you live along the coast, or in a low-lying area, you may wish to evacuate. If you have no option but to stay at home, make sure that your house is as storm-resistant as possible. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, strengthen your home to reduce the risk of damage. Install storm shutters, secure roof shingles, repair broken windows or boards, make sure gutters are clean, and that trees and shrubs near the house are cut back. You should also move valuable items to upper floors or basements, or cover them with plastic to protect them from storm-water damage.
Check if you’re in the path of the hurricane
Storm surge is often the deadliest and most destructive part of a hurricane. It’s possible for this to happen even when the hurricane doesn’t make landfall. So, if you’re in the predicted path of the hurricane, you must prepare for this as well. You should also be prepared for flooding, as it’s not uncommon for rainfall to cause flooding even in areas far from the coast. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date with current forecasts and to know where you should go if you need to evacuate. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you should visit your local emergency management office to find out more about your community’s flood risk and what you can do to prepare.
Get supplies beforehand
If you’re in an area prone to hurricanes, it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies well in advance of the hurricane season. Basic supplies you should have on hand include clean drinking water (one gallon per person), non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio (or a wind-up radio), flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kit, blankets, toilet paper and liquid bleach. Other useful items include a whistle, cash (small bills), prescription medications, copies of important documents in waterproof sleeves, a manual can opener, board games or cards, extra prescription glasses and a portable battery operated fan. Make sure to keep your emergency kit in a safe location that is easily accessible so that you can easily get to it in an emergency. The kit should be kept in a waterproof container or bag and stored away from extreme heat or cold.
When the storm hits: stay indoors!
The best way to survive a hurricane is to stay in a safe location until the storm passes. The most dangerous thing you can do is to be outside when the hurricane hits. If you’re in the path of a hurricane, you should stay indoors and away from windows as much as possible. If you need to evacuate, do so as early as possible. Roads will likely be clogged with cars as people try to leave at the last minute, so you should try to leave at least one day before the storm arrives. If you’re inland, stay away from rivers, streams, and lakes, which can rise rapidly and endanger lives. If you’re in a safe building and have no access to supplies, stay put and wait until the storm passes. If you’re in a safe building but are running out of supplies or water, try to find a nearby shelter, evacuation center, or hospital where you can wait out the storm.
After the storm has passed
Once the storm has passed, don’t forget about the dangers that lurk after the storm. Make sure you’re prepared for flooding and possible loss of utilities. When the storm is over, there may be serious damage to your home. If possible, take a walk through the neighborhood, and keep an eye out for neighbors who might need help. If you’re in a place that’s been flooded, get out as soon as possible. Floodwaters can be very dangerous, and you may not be able to get out easily once you’re in them. If the water is above your knees, it’s best to wade out rather than walk through. Be careful not to trip, fall, or lose your balance. If there’s water in your house, shut off power and gas, and turn off the main water valves to prevent flooding and possible damage.
Hurricanes are extremely powerful storms, and they can cause a lot of damage and destruction. It’s essential to know how to prepare for a hurricane and plan for its aftermath. If you’re in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies well in advance of the hurricane season. Once the storm has passed, it’s important to repair the damage as quickly as possible and to stay vigilant for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).