Last week in our blog, we looked at what steps to take in preparing for a hurricane. If local government and law enforcement officers call for a mandatory evacuation in the event of a storm, we recommend you follow appropriate safety measures and your preparedness plan. However, a mandatory evacuation is not always called or some people still choose to stay in their homes or cities. For the second part of hurricane preparation, we look at what to do if you stay during a storm.
According to www.hurricanescience.org the greatest threat to personal safety exists during and after a storm. Immediately after the storm is when high winds can still cause trees to come down and create flying debris. Heavy rain can produce flash floods and storm surge can present another deadly threat. To stay safe in a home during a hurricane, it is suggested that individuals follow these steps:
- Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Find a safe area in the home (an interior room, a closet or bathroom on the lower level).
- If flooding threatens a home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
- If a home loses power, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.
- Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer.
- Do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. Also, do not go outside to see "what the wind feels like." It is too easy to be hit by flying debris.
- Beware of lightning. Stay away from electrical equipment. Don't use the phone or take a bath/shower during the storm.
If you are planning to stay, consider these supplies from FloridaDistaster.org:
- Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 days
- Food - at least enough for 3 days
- Non-perishable packaged or canned food/juices
- Food for infants or the elderly
- Snack foods
- Non-electric can opener
- Cooking tools/fuel
- Paper plates/plastic utensils
- Clothing - seasonal/ rain gear/ sturdy shoes
- Blankets/Pillows etc.
- First Aid Kits and Medicines
- Prescription and non-prescription medications
- Glasses, dentures, hearing aids, etc.
- Special Items - for babies and elderly
- Toiletries - Hygiene items, especially moisture wipes
- Flashlights and Batteries
- Radio - Battery Operated and NOAA Weather Radio
- Cash and Keys - Extra set of home and car keys
- Important Documents in a waterproof container
- Medical records
- Bank account numbers
- Social Security card, etc.
- Document all valuables
- Tools - Keep a set with you during the storm
- Vehicle Fuel Tanks Filled
- Pet Care Items - proper identification/immunization records
- Ample supply of food and water
- A carrier or cage
- Muzzle and leash
Again, always follow the directions of government and law enforcement officers during an emergency. It is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard during a hurricane. These tips are meant to be a resource and starting point, it is not a complete list of steps to take or items you may need during a hurricane.
Make it a safe day!