Hurricane preparedness

All posts tagged Hurricane preparedness

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

There are a lot of people stranded in the areas that are likely to be the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. While it’s easy to say, “Oh, they should have left earlier” and run through the gamut of blame, the fact remains that there are all sorts of reasons that leaving didn’t work out.

Gas stations have run dry, which means that people can’t drive their cars to leave. Roads are at a standstill as people all try to leave at once in the biggest mass exodus in American history. Amtrak tickets are sold out. Plane tickets are outrageously expensive, in some cases more than three thousand dollars apiece. (However, American Airlines and JetBlue have capped their tickets out of Florida at $99, a service to keep in mind in the future if you plan to fly somewhere.)

The point is, for many, it’s too late. There is no further option for escape from what will most likely be a category 4 or 5 hurricane. (Good news – Friday morning, Irma was downgraded to a Category 4 Hurricane, with “only” 145 mph winds. Please don’t be deluded into thinking this lessens the danger dramatically, however. Hurricane Harvey was a Category 3 and we all saw what happened to Texas.

Here’s an explanation of the categories.

I can’t urge you more strongly: evacuate if you can at all. (Here’s an evacuation checklist.) This is a life-threatening hurricane, potentially the strongest to ever hit the country in recorded history.

(For more articles like this, please subscribe to my daily newsletter.)

What to do if you can’t evacuate

The hurricane is definitely headed toward Florida. That turn we were all hoping would send Irma out to sea didn’t happen – she’s headed west, straight for Miami. Not to scare the daylights out of you, but this is what it looked like on a webcam in St. Maarten. You’re going to want to do what you can to be ready.

If you’re in Florida, it’s too late to order online. There is practically no chance that the items will reach you. You aren’t going to be able to buy standard hurricane supplies at the store at this point, either, so you’ll have to make due with what you have or can still acquire.

Let me be absolutely clear, lest someone accuse me of recommending that people remain in their homes: remaining at home is not a wise course of action. If you haven’t been able to evacuate, here is a list of numbers that you can call to get help and get to a safe shelter before the storm hits. Do not wait until the storm hits to ask for help. Be proactive and do so now.

If you have absolutely no other option, below, you can find the best advice I can offer.

Water

Water is sold out across the state. But, your taps are running just fine, right?

Fill every container you can get your hands on with tap water so that you have something to drink. It’s likely that you can still buy containers that will hold water. Get Mason jars, pitchers, canisters…whatever you can find to hold water. Then fill ALL of them, immediately. Use empty soda bottles or water jugs, too.

Fill one-gallon Ziploc bags with water and freeze them, allowing room for expansion. Not only will this provide drinking water, but the ice will help keep your food safe for longer.

When the storm is about to hit, fill sinks and bathtubs with water. This can be used for sanitation.

Medications

Fill prescriptions for any essential medications immediately. Plan for at least 2 weeks of medication to be on hand in the event that pharmacies are closed after the storm

Food

If there’s anything available, buy food that doesn’t require any cooking. At this point, you can’t afford to be picky. Get enough for at least a week, preferably two.

Money

Keep some cash on hand, preferably in small bills. If there is a regional power outage, you won’t be able to use a debit card or credit card during the aftermath. I suggest keeping several hundred dollars if you can.

Shelter

There are shelters set up all across Florida for those who could not evacuate. You can find a list here. Florida governor Rick Scott said that if you need help you should ask now, because, “we can’t save you once the storm hits.” Particularly if you are in a manufactured or mobile home, there is practically zero chance it will be able to withstand winds of 180 mph or greater.

If you must stay in your home…

  • Secure anything outside that could become a projectile. (Barbecues, bicycles, outdoor furniture.) If you can’t secure the items, bring them inside.
  • Clear your rain gutters and downspouts. This will help reduce the risk of flooding in some cases.
  • Trim trees. If you have branches hanging over your home, remove them if you can. If you can’t, do not use the room beneath the branches for shelter during the storm.
  • Turn off propane and outdoor utilities. If recommended by officials, turn off the utilities to the house. If the power goes out, turn off your breakers to avoid potential surges.
  • Unplug appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. Set those at the coldest setting to keep your food safe for as long as possible in the event of a power outage.
  • Board up your windows to reduce the risk of injury from flying glass. Keep curtains closed for added protection. Do NOT tape them – see the video below.
  • Secure exterior doors. While it may not be sufficient, you can use a bar or place a large piece of furniture in front of them.
  • Close all interior doors.
  • Find the innermost, sturdy part of your home in which to take shelter during the worst part of the storm. Stay away from windows and skylights. A downstairs closet, hallway, or bathroom may be the best option. If you have a basement, this could provide the most safety. Shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • In a high-rise, floors 3-10 are considered to be the safest. Above and below those floors, people should evacuate or take shelter between those floors.
  • Watch for storm surges. If you’re near the coast, 10-20 foot storm surges are expected. Not only can these cause tremendous structural damage, but if you are caught in one, you could drown or suffer serious injuries by being slammed around by the water.
  • Don’t be fooled by the eye of the storm. There is a lull during the eye of the storm that can deceive people into believing that the worst is over. Unfortunately, high winds are likely to pick back up again shortly, so don’t be caught off guard. This lull can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes.

The following video has some useful tips.

And here are more expert tips from Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 hurricane that hit the East Coast in 2015:

The aftermath is dangerous, too.

Once you’ve survived the hurricane, you must take care to survive the aftermath. As we saw during Hurricane Harvey, a disaster of this level is the gift that keeps on giving. You must watch for:

Just to name a few.

Florida isn’t the only place at risk.

Further up the coast, it is expected that Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina may be hit by Hurricane Irma as well. There are already mandatory evacuations in coastal regions of Georgia and South Carolina. Many stores are sold out of essential goods and some gas stations are empty of fuel.

Irma is not expected to hit Georgia and South Carolina until Monday and Tuesday, respectively. This means there is still a possibility of ordering some items online. (See this hurricane guide if you have more time to prepare.)

Any tips from those who have weathered a hurricane at home?

Please share your advice in the comments section below. Your suggestions could save someone’s life. Due to the extreme nature of this situation, I urge you to be civil. In other words, if you’re a jerk, I’m deleting your comments.

Very best wishes to those in the path of danger. Please keep us posted when you can.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: What To Do If You CAN’T Evacuate Before a Hurricane

About the author:

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 booksand the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter,.

Advertisements

Hurricane Preparedness

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

A hurricane preparedness checklist will provide reassurance that you will have thought of all the essentials (provided that they are on the list) and will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will forget something during the stressful time immediately before a potential hurricane disaster.

Note: No list is a perfect or complete list because we all have our own unique circumstances, concerns, and existing resources. Besides, it would take a book to complete one… That said perhaps this list will help get you going in the right direction. It is intended to provoke thought, prepping & preparedness for a hurricane.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: GENERAL SUPPLIES

  • Pack a “Bug Out Bag” and/or “72 hour kit”: This bag of contents should be packed with essential supplies, food & water, clothing, and whatever you feel is important to have during an evacuation. There are lots of articles on our site with more specifics…
  • Cash: ATMs and credit card machines may not work for a while after the storm.
  • Battery-operated radio: Make sure you have extra batteries too, so that you can keep up with news reports and alerts. Hand-crank radios work well, too.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: A Hurricane Preparedness List

HurricaneSurvivalGuide

By Pat Henry – The Prepper Journal

Hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean runs from June 1st to November 30th with a sharp peak in activity from late August through September. It was precisely this time period that Hurricane Katrina descended upon the gulf causing a still unknown number of deaths and over 108 billion dollars of damage. The resulting chaos and horror shocked and moved millions of people to lend assistance in the aftermath of this tragedy. After the storm left and the cleanup process began, millions more began to make preparations for themselves so they wouldn’t be faced with some of the tragedy the victims in the gulf had to live with.

Ten years later, the effects of Katrina still linger. The towns impacted are still not completely restored and may never be as they once were. The anniversary and season should be an opportunity for anyone who lives in areas prone to hurricanes to reflect on their preparations and make sure they have what is needed should a hurricane be forecast in the future. The list below isn’t exhaustive but I think it covers most of the bases that a good hurricane survival guide should account for. If you have taken care of the items below you will be much better off than many who survived hurricane Katrina. This list could end up saving some lives.

Should you stay or should you evacuate?

The decision to stay or evacuate needs to be evaluated early and often. At a certain point in the storm you will not be able to leave. Deciding quickly and before the storm is too near, based upon your circumstances and the forecast from the weather experts is best.

The strength of a storm is one indicator of the severity of damage you can expect. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is what is used to define and classify hurricane strength.

Category 1 Hurricane – Sustained Winds 74-95 MPH

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

Category 2 Hurricane – Sustained Winds 96-110 MPH

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.

Category 3 Hurricane – Sustained Winds 111-129 MPH

Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

Category 4 Hurricane – Sustained Winds 130-156 MPH

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Category 5 Hurricane – Sustained Winds 157 MPH or higher

Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

To see an animation of the effects of the different wind intensities, check out this video below.

If you do decide that you will be evacuating, there are some other considerations.

  • Know where you are going – Don’t hit the highways without a plan or expect you will just find a hotel down the road an hour. During Katrina hotels were completely booked hours away from New Orleans in all directions. Having a friend or family member within a reasonable driving distance would be better.
  • Don’t wait until the last-minute – Roads out-of-town during an evacuation quickly become clogged with traffic. There are accidents, people run out of fuel and the whole interstate system can become a giant parking lot. If you are leaving, make sure you beat the crowd. In addition make sure you have a full tank and plenty of additional fuel. You may not be able to get to a gas station for many hours.
  • Plan on delays in coming back – Even after hurricanes have passed road conditions or security concerns can delay people from getting back to their homes. If you are forced to evacuate make sure you have proof that you live in your home. This can be as simple as a couple of bills and your driver’s license with current street address.
  • Lock house – This may sound obvious but before leaving you should lock your home up as tightly as possible and make preparations for debris.
  • Let friends, relatives and neighbors know where you are going – It is a good idea that someone knows where you are headed. This can be the people you are going to stay with or family members in other states. You don’t want them worrying about whether you are still alive if they aren’t able to contact you. Knowing you left before the hurricane hits will ease their mind and let them know hopefully how to reach you later.
  • Turn off power at the main breaker box – This should prevent any electrical damage that could be caused if your home is flooded.

Flooding is a major risk in hurricanes. Even well after the storm has passed.

Assuming you are staying put, you can expect services to be out and it helps to take some steps ahead of any outages to deal with issues as they arise after the hurricane.

What supplies do you need for a hurricane survival kit?

  • Water – At least one gallon per person for two weeks.
  • Food – Make sure you have at least a few days, better a month’s worth of food for each person. Your individual bug out bag is tailor-made for a short-term scenario like this and each should have many of the supplies on this list already.
  • Generator – A generator is perfect for situations like hurricanes as long as you have enough fuel. I would make sure to have at least a weeks’ worth of fuel on-hand but you likely won’t need to run your generator non-stop. You can store fuel for a very long time with a good fuel stabilizer. If the power is out you should not connect your generator to you home without a power transfer system. Ideally, you cut off power to the city electric and switch your home over to generator power. This will prevent anyone working on the line from getting electrocuted by your generator.
  • Battery operated radios – The simplest way to hear the news in a disaster situation like a hurricane is a good weather radio. This will not only warn of any additional approaching storms or floodwaters but keep you up to date with the situation outside your neighborhood if you are unable to get out. Spare batteries are a must.
  • Cash – No power means no AMT machines. Make sure you have a good amount of cash well before you are unable to get it out of the bank. This can make purchases after the hurricane much easier if credit card machines are down.A well stocked first aid kit, not a box of band-aids is a must in emergency situations.
  • One month medicine – Need any medicine to stay alive? Make sure you have enough stocked up to ride out the rebuilding process. Your local pharmacy might not be open for several days or months if they are struck directly. I would also stock up on your basic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory as well as any children’s fever reducing medicines you could conceivably need.
  • Can opener – Sure you can open a can without a can opener, but it is much simpler if you have a manual can opener to get to all of that non-perishable food you have in the pantry.
  • Flashlights – I recommend headlights for close in work like seeing what you are cooking, making your way through a dark building or assisting others. Headlamps allow you to be hands free. They are perfect for most situations, but a backup high lumen flashlight will really cut through the dark and could help in rescue situations.
  • First aid kit – Every family should have a very well stocked first aid kit. Moving around after a hurricane can cause injuries like burns or major cuts. You will need supplies to dress these wounds and keep them free from germs.
  • Charcoal/gas for grills – Grilling out is usually the best method of cooking when the grid goes down. Take those steaks out of the freezer and have a big party. After that, you can make pretty much any meal with the right cookware and some imagination on a grill.
  • Plastic tarps – Tarps are very light, cheap and useful. They can be used to keep you dry, temporarily patch roofs or keep the sun off your head. You should have several tarps around for general use.
  • Tools/wood/nails – These can be used to close off windows or make repairs after the storm is over.
  • Baby supplies (Diapers, wipes, formula) – The little ones need supplies too. Make sure you have a month worth of items they will need just in case.
  • Cleaning Supplies – You will still need to clean up and if you don’t have any running water, some simple cleaning supplies could make the job easier. If you home is damaged from flooding you will need a lot of bleach to disinfect everything that has come in contact with the flood waters. Disinfecting wipes, rags, scrubbing pads, sponges and cleaning gloves.
  • Mosquito repellent – Hurricanes never happen when you want them too. In hurricane areas you will likely still have hot sticky days and the mosquitoes will flourish in any flooded areas. Make sure you have plenty of repellent to keep them at bay.
  • Water filtration method/system – I prefer to always have a backup water filtration system that I can use for my family. I do have water stored, but eventually you may need to find sources and filter the water so it is safe for drinking. I have both a Berkey Light filter and Platypus GravityWorks. These two are dead simple to use and filter a lot of water quickly.

Hurricane Ivan

Do you have a pet survival kit?

You can’t forget about your pets either in a time like this and they should be taken with you if you decide to evacuate. You don’t want them left to die as so many were in Hurricane Katrina.

  • Make sure they have a collar with identification (rabies/Tag) so if you are separated, they will know who your pet belongs to. I would also add a tag with a (if found call) written on it.
  • Carrier if your pet is small enough and a leash regardless.
  • Plenty of food for two weeks minimum
  • Bowls for food and water – Collapsible bowls can be used in a pinch and take up less space.
  • Any medication your pets need
  • Poop bags for dogs. A litter box and spare litter for cats
  • Can opener if your food is in a can

This list isn’t everything you could possibly need, but hopefully it is a start and helps some of you to be more prepared for hurricane survival if you find yourself in that situation. Please let me know your ideas to add to this hurricane survival guide. Stay safe!

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: Hurricane Survival Guide

FEMA - 44985 - Flooded area in Iowa

This article is brought to you by our friend Andrew J. Jackson over at Prepography ”The Art & Study of Self-Reliance”

Hurricanes and floods are dangerous natural disasters.  Once the storm has blown over and the floodwaters have receded dangers still persists.  Here are the Top 10 Safety Tips for After the Hurricane or Flood adapted from the Centers For Disease Control suggestions.

1. Don’t poison yourself or anyone else

Apparently after a disaster a lot of folks use equipment they aren’t familiar with to provide electricity, heat or clean up and give themselves carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon monoxide is an ordorless and colorless gas put off by many types of combustion engines as well as cooking and heating appliances.  To keep yourself safe read the instruction manual for all your appliances and don’t use equipment like generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal burning equipment inside of buildings or within 20 feet of a door, window or vent.  Additionally, don’t leave any vehicles running inside buildings or garages.  Use a carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup (in case the power is out) and leave the house immediately if is sounds or if you feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.  Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect poisoning.  See Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster  for additional information.

2. Stay out of the floodwaters

Don’t reenter the area until floodwaters have receded and there is no rainfall forecast for your area or upstream.  Don’t drive vehicles or equipment through floodwaters and avoid bodily contact with floodwaters due to injury (tripping, lacerations, etc.), drowning, disease and pollution dangers.  Wear a life jacket if there are still floodwaters in the area.  See Flood Waters or Standing Waters  for more information.

3. Watch out for critters, big and small

With the multitude of tick and mosquito borne diseases (including a spike in West Nile infections this year) make sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin (Information Regarding Insect Repellents).  Watch out for larger critters as well.  Wild animals and strays may act aggressively and/or carry diseases including rabies (Rabies Exposure: What You Need to Know ).

4. Avoid unstable structures

Keep away from damaged buildings structures. Leave the area immediately if you feel or hear the structure shifting, vibrating or any unexplained noise until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises the signal the the structure is about to fall.

5. Watch out for electrical hazards

Stay away from downed power lines.  Even if they appear ‘dead’ they could be energized by the power company coming in to restore power or even by your neighbor who didn’t install his generator correctly.  The same holds true for the power in your house or building.  If you are working in your flooded basement and the power is suddenly restored it could be a life changing experience…for your family.  Always turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse panel (if it’s safe to do so) that has had water damage and don’t turn the power back on until a qualified electrician tells you it’s safe to do so.

6. Watch out for fire hazards

Without power you may be tempted to burn candles or kerosene lanterns.  Exercise extreme caution if you elect to do so.  A safer alternative is the new LED technology lanterns which last forever and don’t put out all that (often) unwanted heat.  Never leave cooking appliances or wood burning fireplaces/stoves unattended while they are in use or until they cool down.  Keep the right type of fire extinguisher handy if there are any open flames.

7. Wear the right protective gear

Wear the right protective gear for the type of work or cleanup you are doing.  This may entail wearing  a hard-hat, safety glasses (or goggles) heavy work gloves, boots (waterproof, steel toe, steel shank, etc.) or hearing protection.  If hazardous materials or certain molds are present you may also need to wear protective clothing or a respirator.  If you aren’t sure about what you’re dealing with call a professional.  See Prevent Illness after a Natural Disaster and Prevent Injury after a Natural Disaster for more information.  More specific information on post disaster mold issues can be found here.

Flooded House

8. Take care of yourself

You’ve just suffered a terrible loss, but hopefully it was only property that you lost.  Don’t add ‘injury’ to insult by trying to do all the cleanup work yourself…especially if you aren’t accustomed to manual labor.  Here are a few of the things to keep in mind during your cleanup process:  drink plenty of water, don’t strain yourself by lifting objects too big to handle, don’t work alone, and take frequent breaks (especially if it’s hot).

9. Practice your first aid skills

Hurricanes and floods leave all kinds of pollutants and diseases behind.  Before you head into the area make sure that you are up on your tetanus shot and any other vaccinations that your doctor recommends)  If you break your skin (cut, scrape, blister, etc.) stop working  and take care of it.  Clean by washing with soap and clean water before applying an antibiotic cream and protect the wound from further contamination.  Keep the wound clean and dry and changing the dressing often until it’s healed.  If you have a more serious injury; any remaining health concerns; or if the wound gets inflamed, swollen, turns colors or starts to discharge then seek immediate medical attention.

10. Clean yourself

Stop frequently and wash the nastiness off.  Use soap and clean water or an alcohol based product (remember no smoking while using these).  Wash your hands as frequently as is feasible and avoid touching your face, food, etc. unless you have just cleaned your hands.  For more information see the CDC’s Hygiene and Handwashing site.

For more information from the Centers for Disease Control on post hurricane and flood safety visit their website.

“This article was first published at reThinkSurvival.com.”

For those in the wake of the current hurricane concerns on the east coast, pay attention to these references (all taken from the Disaster Information You Should Know page):