Guide: Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricanes can be dangerous, bringing gale force winds, powerful ocean currents, deadly storm surge, debris, and devastating rainfall. If you live in an area below sea-level, a flood zone, or one prone to power outages, you should be especially cautious of these natural occurrences.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center, the “average Atlantic hurricane season has fourteen named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5).” In the United States, Florida (specifically South Florida) gets more hurricanes than any other state. In fact, it gets twice as many major storms than the second most-hit state of Texas.

Fortunately, preparing for a hurricane is not only possible—it’s practical. Read on for several safety tips on how to prepare for a hurricane. That way, you’ll know how to weather the storm and keep your loved ones safe regardless of what Mother Nature brings.

Understanding Hurricane Terminology
When issuing hurricane alerts, state and national governments use several terms to define hurricane types. They also have a few terms referring to the probability of landfall. Understanding these terms is an early and incredibly important step in hurricane preparedness.

To that end, a few common hurricane terms you’ll likely come across include:

● Hurricane watch – Meteorologists issue hurricane watches at least 48 hours before an area might receive significant tropical winds. These winds can be greater than 74 mph.

● Hurricane warning – Graver than hurricane watches, hurricane warnings indicate an area can expect significant tropical winds. Unlike watches, warnings are issued 36 hours in advance.

● Landfall – When a hurricane makes landfall, the storm’s surface center contacts a coastline. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the strongest winds are over land. Due to the nature of hurricanes, the strongest winds may still be over water even if the bulk of the storm passes over land.

● Tropical depression – A tropical depression is typically the first stage in hurricane formation. These storms may have winds blowing 38 mph or less and may or may not develop into tropical storms.

● Tropical storm – With winds ranging from 39 mph to 73 mph, a tropical storm is more serious than a tropical depression. These powerful storms can develop into hurricanes.

It’s also important to understand the hurricane categorization system. The last thing you want is to prepare for a level two hurricane only to find out a level five storm is heading your way.

Hurricane Categorization
Like many other weather patterns, hurricanes don’t fit neatly into a storm-sized box. Instead, hurricanes come in different sizes, shapes, and strengths.

As a result, meteorologists rely on the following classification system:

● Level one – Level one hurricanes have winds between 74 and 95 mph. These hurricanes can cause some damage.

● Level two – Level two hurricanes have winds between 96 and 110. These hurricanes can cause significant damage—especially to less-sturdy structures.

● Level three – With winds between 111 and 129 mph, level three hurricanes can be very destructive.

● Level four – Featuring winds between 130-156 mph, level four hurricanes can be catastrophic. It’s often necessary to completely evacuate an area before a level four hurricane makes landfall.

● Level five – Level five hurricanes pack high winds greater than 156 mph and are the most catastrophic. Like level four hurricanes, level five hurricanes mean widespread evacuations are urgent.

The days before a hurricane hits are often loaded with crucial information. In which case, knowing what this information means should be at the top of your hurricane preparedness list.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
From causing power outages to closing grocery stores, hurricanes often impact a community’s infrastructure in monumental ways. As a result, it’s much better to create an emergency plan ahead of time. This includes stocking up on emergency supplies early rather than at the last minute.

While your supplies can vary based on your location and the expected hurricane’s size, most emergency kits call for the following:

● Non-perishable food and water – Many experts advise keeping at least a three-day food supply. This food should be non-perishable and meet the dietary needs of your household—especially infants and pets. Additionally, experts recommend storing at least a three-day water supply (at least a gallon per person per day).

● Medicines and medical supplies – Chances are your local pharmacy will be closed the days before and after a hurricane. As a result, it’s imperative to stock up on necessary medicines. You’ll also need a first-aid kit containing bandages, sanitation wipes, and other essential medical supplies.

● Essential documents – You can likely replace most appliances, furniture, and clothes. However, many essential documents and mementos are irreplaceable. Keep priceless objects such as photographs, wills, and house deeds safe and easily-retrievable in case of evacuation.

● Flashlights, lanterns, and batteries – Depending on the hurricane’s severity, you may lose power for hours, days, or weeks. Flashlights and lanterns are thus indispensable. Be sure to also stock up on batteries.

● Fire extinguisher – Hurricanes often down power lines, leading to fires. Having a fire extinguisher ready can help extinguish flames.

● Personal items – Extra clothes and personal hygiene items should also be in your emergency supply kit. What’s more, consider packing sleeping bags, pillows, and other items that will help you and your family remain somewhat comfortable.

● Money – Banks and ATMs may be unserviceable during a major hurricane. Consequently, keeping extra money on hand can help you in the long run. If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes, you might continually add to your “hurricane fund.”

In addition to these necessary supplies, you might also consider purchasing a portable generator. Portable generators are convenient ways to provide both power and peace of mind in otherwise dark times.

Make a Plan
Any hurricane preparedness checklist should feature a solid plan-of-action. While you can’t prepare for every outcome, you can make your life easier by knowing whom to call and where to travel should the need arise.

Storm-worthy plans typically include:

● Shelters and escape route information – Depending on the hurricane’s severity, you may have to evacuate your area or seek shelter in an approved evacuation facility. Knowing the nearest shelter’s location and how to safely evacuate your area is beneficial.

● Emergency phone numbers – Family members and loved ones will likely be worried about how you all are doing during a powerful storm. Comfort them by calling to check in. You should also keep numbers for emergency power and health services.

● Pet plans – Don’t forget about your furry family members. Make a list of places to take your beloved pets in an emergency. If you plan on hunkering down with them, store extra pet food.

● Insurance policies – While you’ll want to review your insurance policies often, it’s especially advantageous to know their ins-and-outs before disaster strikes. For example, if you live in a “hurricane alley,” consider purchasing flood and wind insurance.

● Places to hunker down in your home – Closets, bathrooms, and other interior rooms are the best places to wait out hurricanes. On the other hand, rooms with many windows are the worst. You also don’t want to hunker down in a basement due to flooding.

You should also ready your vehicle for a quick departure. This means keeping emergency supplies in your car (as well as filling up the gas tank). During a hurricane, you don’t want your energy levels or your gas tank to be empty.

If you don’t own a vehicle, you should plan for transportation if you need to evacuate.

Hurricane-Proof Your Home
So far, we’ve discussed ways to prepare you and your family members for a hurricane. However, preparing your home is just as important.

In short, plywood, sandbags, and TLC can go a long way toward keeping your home intact during the storm. To best prepare your home and property for the unfortunate event of a powerful hurricane, take the following initiatives:

● Trim branches and trees – A weak branch can be a hurricane’s best friend, causing damage simply by falling onto your home. As a result, trimming branches and trees can be a fantastic method to hurricane-proof your home.

● Place plywood or storm shutters over windows – Windows can be some of the easiest household components to damage. Fortifying windows with plywood or storm shutters is thus crucial—especially if the hurricane is expected to bring level three winds or higher.

● Clear your yard – During normal times, a yard full of baseballs, grilling equipment, and other activities can be a welcome sight. But during a hurricane, a packed yard can spell trouble. That’s because a hurricane can knock over items, blow them away, and cause damage to your infrastructure.

● Anchor your boat – If you have a boat, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly anchored to the ground. Hurricanes can easily pick up and damage boats.

● Waterproof your home – Flooding can sometimes cause more damage to your home than wind. In addition to harming electronics, water can ruin flooring and paneling. To help prevent water damage, waterproof your home by sealing openings with caulk. Any water you can keep out of your home is a win.

In addition to keeping out unwanted water, preparing for a hurricane means keeping necessary water running. This is why a water pump is so important. A high-quality water pump facilitates the transportation of water and prevents contamination.

Hurricane Preparation Starts with DuroMax
Knowing how to prepare for hurricane season is key to weathering any storm. After all, if the best offense against a hurricane is foresight and proactiveness, proper planning can help defend your home and family.

Here at DuroMax, we understand this process intuitively, seeing as we’re a leader in portable generator technology. Our products help keep the lights on when disasters threaten to turn them off. Additionally, our water pumps can help keep water flowing (and uncontaminated) during an emergency.

Remember that meticulous preparation and accounting for a lack of resources is instrumental when preparing for a hurricane. We hope this quick hurricane guide helped orient you to processes you can implement if this enormous storm threatens your area.