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Danielle's Guide To Hurricane Season, Part II

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Another (beautiful) satellite view of a hurricane

In the previous post, I gave you some basic information about hurricanes. Now that you know what these storms are like, I'll give you a few tips about how to prepare for them.

Listen to the local authorities. If they order you to evacuate and you can, do. If they tell you to stay indoors during or after the storm, do. Make sure you have some way (radio, portable TV, etc) to keep abreast of any updates. A Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours. This is when you should start planning. A Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a hurricane is to have a disaster supply kit with the following:
  • Enough water to provide each person 1 gallon per day.
  • Non-perishable food items such as canned foods, drinks or snacks. If they don't open with tabs, bring a manual can opener.
  • Paper plates and plastic cups/utensils
  • Any special supplies such as baby food, diapers, adult diapers, etc.
  • First aid kit with over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Bedclothes such as blankets and pillows.
  • Toiletries/hygeine items/personal cleansing wipes.
  • Clothing
  • Batteries for flashlights, cell phones, etc.
  • Important documents such as medical records, insurance policies, bank/credit card account numbers, identification, Social Security cards, etc. It is best to keep them in a watertight container or resealable bag.
  • Keys
  • A full tank of gas and any other emergency supplies for your car. This includes a spare tire and/or tire repair kit.
  • Basic tools such as a Swiss Army-type knife
  • Entertainment such as toys, books, games, cards, etc.
 Bring enough of each item to last for 3-7 days.

Some other tips:
  • Check your insurance coverage! One thing a lot of people don't realize is that your average homeowners' insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Many policies are 'exclusionary'- if they don't specifically say it's covered, it isn't. Check if the insurance company offers a 'rider policy' that adds flood coverage.
  • If you have pets, have a plan for them. Most shelters don't allow pets.
  • Know where you are going (shelter, hotel, etc) and let someone else know how you can be reached.
  • Turn off any electrical, gas or water lines.
  • Secure outdoor items such as boats, patio furniture, etc. If you do not have permanent storm shutters, board up your windows with plywood. If you can somehow anchor your roof to the frame structure, do so.
  • This probably goes without saying, but stay inside at all times and away from glass windows/doors.
  • Stay on the lowest level if you can.

After the storm, watch for standing water and downed power lines! I probably don't have to tell you why these are a bad combination. Also, don't try to drive through standing water because it is usually deeper than it looks! My 'drowned' car battery can attest to this!

Hurricanes are never fun, but it is possible to get through them with minimal damage if you plan accordingly. For more information, check out the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.


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