The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season lasts from May 15th to November 30th. Are you prepared?
The only wrong time to prepare for a hurricane is when it’s too late. If you live near the coast, hurricanes are an ever-present danger. Knowing how and what to prepare for a hurricane can save your life and your belongings.
1. Prepare Online
Sometimes a little bit of online hurricane preparedness can go a long way. Many government organizations, disaster relief resources, and power companies offer helpful information on mobile apps or websites to help you stay in-the-know regarding the latest developments of a storm.
2. Bookmark the page(s) on your power company’s website where outage maps and updates are posted if the power goes out. Sign up for the company’s emergency email alerts, if they offer them.
3. Install FEMA’s app. If your power company has an app, install that, too.
4. Photograph your items. In the event of catastrophic damage following an evacuation, photographs make filing an insurance claim easier. Store the photos online using a service such as Dropbox or Google Docs.
5. Review your insurance policy for natural disaster protection. Then, scan your policy documents and store the file online with your photos.
6. Research the most convenient evacuation centers in your area and the traffic routes you’d take to reach them. If your home is in an evacuation zone and you receive an evacuation order, it is in your best interest to follow it rather than wait the storm out.
Prepare Inside Your Home
Make your home a fortress! Hurricanes can do a number on your windows and walls, but you can take some steps to keep the rain and wind at bay.
1. Store everything you need to be comfortable for a few days in a plastic waterproof container. Create an emergency prep bag. Make sure it includes:
- Flashlights (with extra batteries)
- One gallon of water per day, per person and pet
- Non-perishable, canned food
- Prescribed medications for anyone in the apartment, including pets
- Emergency blankets
- A water purifier
- Telephone car charger
- Full tank of gas
- Cash (since ATM machine will not work)
- Emergency kit with First Aid supplies
- Mosquito repellent
- A portable, hand-crank radio is also a bonus
- Solar-powered battery that can charge up your devices
- Dried fruit and jerky
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Clean towels
- Paper Plates/Cup and disposable utensils
2. Make pet preparations. If you have a dog, cat, or other beloved pet, make sure you have an emergency prep bag for them, too! Also, locate nearby shelters or hotels that can accommodate both of you.
3. Charge your devices. This includes cell phones, laptops, tablets, and, yes, even the devices you use to charge your various devices.
4. If you rent, request preventative maintenance from your landlord. If you have a leaky window or other outstanding maintenance issue, request that your landlord fix them now before things get serious.
5. Unplug electronic devices (like desktop computers) and appliances (like coffee makers and toaster ovens) if you lose power. Doing so will help prevent an electrical surge from damaging them when power returns
Prepare Outside Your Home
1. Test your generator (if you have one) to ensure it’s in good working order. Also, verify that you have enough gas to operate it.
2. Remove any overgrown tree branches that risk falling on your home. Heavy tree branches can damage your belongings and your vehicle.
3. Secure any outdoor items. You’ll reduce the risk of them being scattered or damaged by high winds and heavy rain.
4. Park your vehicle in a safe location. Park your car away from possible flooding areas or places where it could be in danger of falling debris.
5. Get to know your neighbors. Working together helps everyone stay safe during a hurricane.
For more hurricane safety tips, visit Ready.gov or FEMA.gov.