The key to living through a hurricane is planning for it. That way, you are ready for any eventuality, and already know what to do in the event it happens.
Prepare an evacuation plan. Make sure everybody knows where to meet if you separate. Attach ID tags to pets.
Ensure your home and contents are adequately insured. Include flood, wind and hail cover. Review this in detail with your agent. Ask them what you can do to reduce your risk.
Make copies of personal and family records. Back your data up regularly on a remote server. Photograph or videotape your home and contents for insurance purposes. Provide your agent with a copy. Back it up.
Keep medicine, food, clothing, flashlights and a portable radio in a dry place sufficient to last for at least a week. Remember to refresh this regularly. Purchase a generous supply of water purification tablets.
Never assume the government will provide for your needs. You must be self-sufficient just in case. Requests for assistance could overwhelm public agencies. At that time, available resources will be directed to the most vulnerable and needy people. You could be on your own for more than a few days.
If a Hurricane is Imminent
Take the hurricane warning seriously. The following is generally accepted advice although your own circumstances could be different.
Keep one set of receivers tuned to local radio and television station for the latest national weather service advisories, as well as for special instructions from local government. Disconnect the rest.
Check that your battery-powered equipment is functioning properly. This includes laptops, mobiles, flashlights and portable radios. Buy spare batteries and make sure that these are fully charged.
Service stations may be inoperable after the storm has passed. Keep your car fully fueled in the event you need to evacuate. Ensure the battery and lights are in good condition. Do not be tempted to fill containers with spare fuel.
Keep one vehicle parked outside the front door in case you need to leave suddenly. Pack it with emergency supplies including food and water. Park all other vehicles in the garage. Clear the carports.
The storm may contaminate or damage the water system. Store a week’s supply of fresh drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs and bottles. Check the sell-by date of your water purification tablets. Top up medical supplies.
Fasten your boat securely well in advance of the storm, or move it early to a designated safe area. We suggest tying an anchor into the middle of the canal for the bowline and another for the port in order to prevent the boat hitting the bulkheads or ending up on the bank. Do not stay onboard the boat.
Normally harmless items can become deadly missiles in hurricane-strength winds. Secure outdoor objects that could become debris. Tie down garbage cans, garden tools, toys, signs, porch furniture etc., or take them indoors.
Preparing a yard for a hurricane is the Owner’s responsibility. Remove dead wood from trees, and branches and coconuts from coconut palms. Secure them so they cannot blow away. Store garden tools safely. Take down flags.
Contractors must remove loose construction material and debris from construction sites if possible. These can fly around and cause injury and even death. Cover dumpsters securely, if they are impossible to remove.
Tie waterproof cover over the swimming pool filter and all other outdoor electrical equipment. Immediately shut off water, electricity, and gas supplies when told to do so.
Ensure that pets are wearing collars with current ID’s. If these are dated, write the details on adhesive tape with an indelible pen, and attach this to the pet’s collar. Never leave pets outside or tied up during a hurricane.
When you judge the arrival is imminent, move the car outside the front door to the garage. Close all garage doors securely. Go inside the house with your family and pets. Secure doors and windows. Listen to the radio and television.
Flash floods brought on by torrential hurricane rains are dangerous. Although hurricanes weaken rapidly as they move inland, the remnants of a storm can still bring six to twelve inches of rainfall to the areas it crosses. Sandyport Drive is prone to flooding. Please take the necessary precautions.
Wind pressure and flying debris can break large windows, garage doors, and double-entry doors. Taping windows does not prevent the glass from breaking. It merely keeps the broken glass in a confined area. If desired, install hurricane shutters or window boards on all unprotected windows. These may prevent tree branches or debris from breaking glass.
During a Hurricane
TAKE COVER. Remain indoors throughout the hurricane, without exception. Blowing debris can injure, maim and kill. Travel is extremely dangerous. Be especially aware of the “eye of the hurricane”. If the storm center passes directly overhead, there will be a lull in the wind lasting for a few minutes to a half hour or more. At the other side of the eye, the winds will increase rapidly to hurricane force again. This time, they will come from the opposite direction, and may catch you unawares.
BE AWARE OF STORM SURGES. A storm surge is a dome of water that can be fifty miles wide. The stronger the hurricane, the higher the storm surge will be. It sweeps across the coastline near where the eye of the hurricane makes landfall. A surge - aided by the hammering effect of breaking waves – is comparable to a giant bulldozer sweeping everything in its path. This is unquestionably the most dangerous part of any hurricane. Nine out of ten hurricane deaths are attributable to storm surges.
WATCH OUT FOR FLOODING. Flash floods and creeping flooding brought on by torrential hurricane rains are dangerous killers too. Although hurricanes weaken rapidly as they move inland, the remnants of these storms can still bring six to twelve inches of rainfall to the areas they cross. Consequential floods like these can cause loss of life, and great damage too.
BEWARE OF STRONG WINDS. Hurricane winds may be as powerful as seventy-four miles per hour or more, and can be very dangerous. In some instances, this wind force is sufficient to destroy buildings. Wooden structures are particularly vulnerable to hurricane winds that spawn tornadoes. This can contribute to incredible destruction. The greatest threat of all from hurricane winds is their cargo of debris. This is a deadly barrage of flying missiles such as lawn furniture, signs, roofing, trees, and siding. This is why hurricane preparation is so important.
REMAIN INSIDE. After the storm has passed, avoid going outside unless you must. There may be a variety of pets and creatures living on their nerves. Much of the debris will be razor sharp and could hurt you easily. Stay inside your home listening to the radio. Follow the advice of the authorities.