As we are now at the peak of a devastating and record-breaking hurricane season, it is obvious that hurricane preparedness should be on everybody’s minds. Of course, we need to focus on helping with the recovery efforts in the areas affected. However, I think we can all agree that additional prepping can help prevent future loss of life and property damage. With a few simple steps implemented around your home, you can be sure you are ready the next time the winds and rain start pounding down on your area.
The first point I must make is that the evacuation process in these areas has been rough. All I have seen this year is footage of bumper to bumper traffic for miles, people abandoning their vehicles, and people choosing to ride out the storm in their flooded homes. People can argue that evacuation orders could have been made sooner, or they could argue that the government made the right call. This is not what I am talking about. You and your family have the power to evacuate at whatever point you feel the need. You do not have to wait for some magical announcement to abandon ship.
I realize it is difficult to leave your home behind while everybody else is going about their normal lives. However, being a prepper or survivalist is about making the tough decisions and zigging when everybody else zags. How many thousands of people do you think wish they had left sooner? The key is information and planning. If you are plugged into a good prepping network, you should have frequent updates regarding the progress of these storms. You should know how powerful they are and where they will likely hit land. If there is even a 50% chance that your family could be in danger, it is time to head inland. You may miss a few days of work, but isn’t your family worth it?
As for planning, you should have a designated safe zone for your family. This is a location where you are always welcome to stay if there is a threat of a hurricane. It could be friends, relatives, or even a comfy hotel you enjoy. Just be sure it is far enough inland that your family is safe. Every area is different, so use your best judgement on this. Hurricane Harvey caused flood damage as far inland as roughly 250 miles. Have a few different routes planned to get to your destination with at least one of them using back roads to avoid traffic.
In addition, do not make the mistake of just packing a suitcase when you do bug out. I realize you will likely be staying in a comfortable setting, but you never know what might happen on the road. Take your bug out bags along with food, water, and weapons. With hurricanes, you also should have enough warning to load up valuables if you like. As soon as you know a hurricane is possible, get your gas tank filled and keep it filled until you decide if you will be leaving.
As for preventing property damage, there are several steps you can take before you leave. Always remember that both the winds and the flooding can damage your property. To protect against wind damage, have plywood or particle board on hand to board up windows. Be prepared to bring any outdoor furniture or other items into the garage, or find a way to tie them down.
Remember that loose items can not only be broken, but can also become projectiles that can damage your home. For limited flooding you can have some sandbags on hand to pile up around the doors to limit the water flow. If you have a basement, anything on the floor is at risk. You may want to move it to a higher level. The same goes for the ground floor if you have no basement. Of course, never spend so much time on your possessions that you risk your safety.
Looting can be a serious concern during hurricanes, so lock down your home as tightly as you can. Be sure all doors and windows are locked including the garage door. You already have the outside of the windows boarded to prevent wind damage, but you can also board the inside of the windows for an added layer of protection. Hide any valuables that you are not taking with you. Be sure that nobody can see inside your home under any circumstances. Looters are less likely to break in if they think somebody might be home or if they do not know what items are inside. If you want to add an additional deterrent, you can spray-paint a nasty note for looters on your boarded windows.
I realize living in coastal areas can cause people to ignore hurricane warnings. There are so many times a hurricane will miss a particular area or weaken before landfall that people often assume everything will be okay. After all that has happened this year, I urge you to take hurricanes seriously and get to safety as early as you can.
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