Some coastal regions of the USA are hit by hurricanes every year. Learn here how to best prepare for the hurricane season and what to do in case of emergencies.
Hurricane Season – When and Where?
It’s hurricane season once again! The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has precisely defined these interludes of time for each year. In the Central Pacific Basin, for example, hurricane season happens between June 1st to November 30th. The same applies to the Caribbean and Atlantic region, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. In the Eastern Pacific Basin, it begins on May 15th.
Preparing for the Hurricane Season
Those who live in one of the risk zones should prepare for the hurricane season. But it’s harder to prepare properly if you’re a vacationer or newcomer. So it’s useful to get advice from locals. We’ve compiled some of their tips.
Ways to Plan for Hurricane Season
As with everything, good preparation starts with a good plan. This is especially true for the hurricane season. Local authorities provide a lot of information about evacuations. You should study their materials thoroughly before you go on holiday or relocate to an area where hurricanes hit.
It’s also crucial to create an evacuation plan for the entire family. To do that, the NHC has set up a website with all the information you’ll need. It is also important to consider pets. Think about what might happen to your cat or dog during an evacuation. This will prevent you from panicking in an emergency. Test the evacuation route a few times in dry weather.
You should also listen to weather and evacuation plans during the Hurricane Season. Radio and television news will give you with all the important information you need. There are also hurricane apps for smartphones that will keep you up-to-date.
1. Buy Supplies for the Hurricane Season
During a violent storm, families can often stay in their house. However, roads can be flooded or paths blocked. That’s why a house in an area threatened by hurricanes should always be well equipped with supplies. This doesn’t just mean stocking up on canned food or enough toilet paper. You should also have plenty of drinking water and battery-operated flashlights, a First Aid Kit and radios in your house. That way you’ll stay covered even when the power and water supply breaks down. Also, make sure that your car has a full tank of gas, and that medicines and a first aid kit are available.
You should also pack an emergency backpack for each member of the family in case you need to immediately evacuate during the hurricane season. It should contain clothes and toiletries as well as essential medicines. Above all, you should carry important documents like your passport and some cash.
2. Copies and Backups of Crucial Documents
If you’re in a hurricane-prone area for a longer time, you need to play it smart. Make copies of all important documents such as certificates, contracts or insurance policies, and keep them in a safe place. The same applies to electronic back-ups of all important data. You should also put family photos in a safe place so that these precious memories are not lost forever in the event of a disaster.
Some people use a safety deposit box. Others store valuable items with relatives living outside the endangered region. In any case, you should check before each hurricane season to make sure all backups are current and copies are still available.
3. Hurricane Season Insurance
A catastrophic hurricane can drastically change your life. Therefore, those living in a hurricane zone should have the appropriate insurance. People who don’t live directly on the coast often underestimate the danger of a hurricane. Floods can reach far into the interior of the country and destroy houses. You might want to consider flood insurance if you live here, too.
Car insurance can also be a sensitive topic during the hurricane season. Contact your insurance company if you’re uncertain about your coverage. As a rule, you should store the vehicle in a secure building or outside the danger zone during times of increased storm risk.
4. Preparing the House for the Hurricane Season
Loose roof tiles, defective cellar windows or a hanging rain gutter – all these shortfalls can become a real problem during a hurricane. Violent storms can tear down any loose items on your house and cause far greater damage. Defective doors and windows let in water. You can prevent all this by thoroughly overhauling your home before the hurricane season and fixing anything that needs it.
If you can, board up your windows and glass doors before the hurricane hits to protect from falling debris. If you don’t have the extra plywood, get duct tape and make a large X on your windows, so that they won’t shatter even if you get hit.
It’s also important not to leave anything in the garden during the time of increased risk. Make a habit of monitoring your property every night. Violent winds can blow away outdoor furniture, garden tools, broken wooden slats, or even a child’s bicycle. So make sure to stow everything away. Tightly close shed or garage doors during the hurricane season. Park your car inside a garage if you can!
5. What to Do When a Hurricane Strikes?
For the greatest possible safety of your family during a storm, you should follow these rules:
- Stay calm. If you panic, you will cause your children and the elderly to panic. Keep a cool head and distract each other.
- Stay inside and keep away from doors and windows after you’ve locked them tightly.
- Make sure to close gas taps and disconnect electrical appliances from power outlets.
- Don’t use the phone and don’t open the refrigerator door unless necessary if you’ve lost power.
- If the storm gets stronger, go into a safe room. Upper floors tend to be more vulnerable when a hurricane hits, so stay downstairs- provided you don’t have too much flooding.
6. Children and the Hurricane Season
Pay special attention to your children during the hurricane season. This is especially important if your little ones have never experienced heavy storms. Talk as a family about the course of a hurricane and the dangers it brings. Have an evacuation plan, and talk about how to stay safe.
You should pack your child’s emergency backpack slightly differently than your hurricane survival kit. Include their favorite cuddly toy for comfort, but plan for their special needs such as diapers or an extra jacket against the cold. Write your phone number on your child’s arm with a semi-permanent ink pen. This way, emergency crews can contact you if something goes wrong and you get separated. Otherwise, keep calm and reassure the child. Play a board game that distracts you from the storm and helps pass the time. You can also download a good family app that keeps them busy for a few minutes when you need some time for yourself. Self-care is always important but especially in exceptional situations – and kids stay calm when their parents are calm, too.
7. Stay Connected
Brainstorm more good ways to stay safe during hurricane season, and talk things over with your family on FamilyApp. You might lose power and wifi during a storm, so plan ahead. Have you survived a hurricane? What are your best tips?