Hurricane a Comin’: What To Do During a Hurricane
A hurricane is similar to several other disasters. The storm itself acts like a large tornado with lower wind speeds, larger funnel but it can last days instead of minutes.
It can cause as much damage as an earthquake and I’m sure winds at those speeds produce a similar shaking as a medium earthquake. It certainly creates similar damage, so treat it the same way you would for either of the two disasters.
Watches and warnings for hurricanes are issued well ahead of time, so you can consider yourself lucky and have time to get prepared. This is a luxury we rarely get with other disasters.
Here’s a list so you know what to do during a hurricane.
Once a watch is issued you should:
- // Reinforce your garage doors (as mentioned earlier)
- // Board up those windows or close your shutters.
- // Strap down your roof.
- // Turn off propane tanks.
- // Turn off utilities when instructed to do so – ALWAYS follow the instructions of local authorities, its not worth the risk.
- // Bring in all outside furniture, decorations, garbage cans, etc: aren’t you glad you cleaned out the garage.
- // Stay away from windows and glass doors, including curtains and blinds; even if you have boarded them or closed the shutters.
- // Close all interior doors, and secure and brace exterior doors.
- // Fill the bathtub or buckets with water to use for cleaning and flushing toilets.
- // Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- // If you don’t have a safe room, get to the farthest interior room; closet or hallway on lowest level (not basement). Bring your baggage – kit, water, entertainment, and lighting. It’s a BUG IN party!
- // Keep your NOAA radios on and keep your ears perked for alerts and further instructions.
- // Avoid elevators – better yet avoid going anywhere unless evacuating.
- // Lie under a table or another sturdy object if needed. Personally if you get to this point you should have evacuated!
- // ABOVE ALL: Use common sense
Evacuate under the following conditions:
- // When local authorities tell you to evacuate, you should do it~ Follow their directions.
- // If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – there’s a reason Mater says “happier than a tornado in a trailer park”. These are favorite play things for high wind storms, no matter how well bolted to the ground you think they are.
- // If you live in a high rise building (you should at least be below the 10th floor), winds increase the higher the elevation.
- // If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway, or below sea level.
- // If you feel you are in danger, follow your gut and get out!
“Is it over yet?” After the storm has past
Just because the Hurricane has past or finally died out, doesn’t mean the hazards are over. A dead hurricane simply means that the weather conditions that categorized the storm as a hurricane are gone, but you’ll still have a far amount of “weather” to deal with.
I still remember watching the weather reports and the radar after a tropical storm hit Houston when I was in junior high. That was when all the flooding and problems began. You could still see the rotation of the clouds and the precipitation POURING down. It still had plenty to pick up again on its next trip around. So what do you do now?
- // Be aware of flooding and tornadoes – rain will continue and the rotation can cause tornadoes so stay tuned to your NOAA radio.
- // Stay out of the flood waters! Even 2 feet can carry away a truck, so imagine what it would do if you were on foot.
- // Stay away from downed power lines, and any water around them.
- // If you evacuated, do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe.
- // If you need shelter text SHELTER + your zip code to 43362 for the nearest shelter or look at the Red Cross App on your smartphone.
- // Begin applying and looking for assistance through FEMA.
- // Avoid driving!
- // If you must go out watch for debris, downed power lines and other hazards (particularly wildlife).
- // Avoid tap water until it’s been declared safe.
- // Check refrigerated food for spoilage; if in doubt throw it out.
- // Wear protective gear and clothing and be careful to avoid injury. Cuts and infection sustained from cleaning up are one of the biggest causes of illness and death in a disaster.
- // Use the telephone ONLY for emergencies
- // Never use a generator inside, same with BBQ’s or other fume releasing heat or light sources. It doesn’t matter how well ventilated you think things are, CO2 is Deadly!
If you had to evacuate, then coming home will either be a relief or devastating. We all hope for the first, of course, but even if your home is still standing when you get there, take caution.
1) Carefully walk around the outside of your home and look for structural damage, loose or down lines, or gas leaks.
2) Turn flashlights on outside to avoid creating a spark in case of interior gas leaks.
3) If in doubt don’t enter, have an engineer or certified inspector come first.
4) Grab your camera for insurance purposes. Take pictures of damage, both of contents and home. After you know it’s safe to enter or be around the outside. You will want close ups and a full shot of your home and rooms.
Well now you know what to do, but we sure hope you never have to use it. Thanks for celebrating Hurricane Week with us.
Be sure to stop by www.ready.org for more information.