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Hurricane Preparedness

Are you prepared for a hurricane? Find out by reading our hurricane preparedness guide. Learn what to do before a hurricane such what hurricane kits and emergency supplies you need. We also provide helpful tips for what to do during and after a hurricane too.

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

What To Do Before A Hurricane

In this section you can learn about hurricanes and what can do to protect yourself before a hurricane strikes. Find out which hurricane survival kits and supplies you need along with other important steps to take before a hurricane.

Learn About Hurricanes

Hurricanes are violent tropical storms with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. They form over warm ocean waters – usually starting as storms in the Caribbean or off the west coast of Africa. As they drift slowly westward, the warm waters of the tropics fuel them. Warm, moist air moves toward the center of the storm and spirals upward. This releases torrential rains. As updrafts suck up more water vapor, it triggers a cycle of strengthening that can be stopped only when contact is made with land or cooler water. Hurricane season is typically from June 1st to November 30th.

HURRICANE TERMS TO REMEMBER:

  • Tropical Depression - an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
  • Tropical Storm - an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).
  • Hurricane - a warm-core tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or greater.
  • Eye - center of a hurricane with light winds and partly cloudy to clear skies. The eye is usually around 20 miles in diameter, but can range between 5 and 60 miles.
  • Eye Wall - location within a hurricane where the most damaging winds and intense rainfall are found.

HURRICANE SCALE:

  • Category I - 74-95 mph winds with 4-5 ft. storm surge and minimal damage
  • Category II - 96-110 mph winds with 6-8 ft. storm surge and moderate damage
  • Category III - 111-130 mph winds with 9-12 ft. storm surge and major damage
  • Category IV - 131-155 mph winds with 13-18 ft. storm surge and severe damage
  • Category V - 155+ mph winds with 18+ ft. storm surge and catastrophic damage

HURRICANE WARNINGS:

  • Tropical Storm Watch - issued when tropical storm conditions may threaten a specific coastal area within 36 hours, and when the storm is not predicted to intensify to hurricane strength.
  • Tropical Storm Warning - winds in the range of 39 to 73 mph can be expected to affect specific areas of a coastline within the next 24 hours.
  • Hurricane Watch - a hurricane or hurricane conditions may threaten a specific coastal area within 36 hours.
  • Hurricanes Warning - a warning that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher associated with a hurricane are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less.

Home Hurricane Preparedness Kits

4 Person Home Hurricane Survival Kit

Our 4 Person Deluxe Home Survival Kit supports 4 people for 3 days. It includes all the critical emergency food, water, shelter, sanitation, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving after a major hurricane. After a major hurricane, stores will be closed! Running water and electricity will be unavailable! Your home may be unsafe to occupy! You need to be self-sufficient.

Hurricane Accessory Kit

We also recommend the Hurricane Accessory Kit, which has been specially designed to enhance the above Home kit to help your family prepare for the inevitable hurricane that faces many regions of North America and beyond. This emergency hurricane preparedness kit contains emergency supplies to prepare your home for a hurricane.

Hygiene Accessory Kit

Another recommended kit we provide for your family is our Family Hygiene Kit. It includes the necessary sanitation and hygiene your family would need following a major hurricane. Remember, at that time, there will probably be a severe shortage of water. These supplies allow you to remain hygienic following a hurricane without the need for running water. Remember, it is important to avoid spreading or being exposed to dangerous bacteria during a time of already great emergency.

Pet Survival Kits and Supplies

And don't forget about your pets they will have needs too after a hurricane. They will be hungry, thirsty, and potentially in danger just like you. That is why we have developed Pet Survival Kits which contain specially manufactured emergency pet food and water along with many other supplies which could save the your furry friends.

Car Hurricane Preparedness Kits

Car Hurricane Survival Kits

Our 4 Person Deluxe Car Survival Kit supports 4 people for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving after a major hurricane. Remember, after a hurricane, stores will be closed! Roads will be down! And you may have to get out of your car and travel great distances by foot to get to a safe or familiar location. You need to be self-sufficient. Also learn how you can customize your car emergency kit to meet your personal survival needs.

Office Hurricane Preparedness Kits

Office Hurricane Survival Kit

Our 5 Person Office Survival Kit supports 5 people for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving at work after a major hurricane. Remember, after a hurricane, stores will be closed! Roads will be down! Your office buildings will be unsafe to occupy! This means that employees may be stuck at work for days if not weeks. Your business has the obligation to ensure that it has adequate hurricane preparedness supplies for all of its employees. The is no easier way to prepare your office for a hurricane than by storing our office survival kits in strategic locations in the workplace.

Personal Hurricane Survival Kit at Work

Our 1 Person Office Survival Kit supports 1 person for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving at work after a major hurricane. Remember, after an earthquake, employees may need to evacuate the buildings. That is why this kit is small and easily portable. Your business has the obligation to ensure that it has adequate hurricane preparedness supplies for all of its employees. The is no better way to prepare your office for an hurricane than to ensure that each employee has its own personal office survival kit.

School Hurricane Preparedness Kits

School Hurricane Survival Kit

Our Classroom Safety Backpack Survival Kit is recommended for each classroom as it contains all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for school hurricane preparedness. Your school has the obligation to ensure that students have adequate hurricane supplies and this school survival kit is a great way to protect each of your students classrooms.

Economy Student Hurricane Survival Kit

Our 1 Person Office Survival Kit supports 1 person for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving at school after a major hurricane. Remember, after an hurricane, students and faculty may need to evacuate the buildings and travel by foot to a safe location. That is why this kit is recommended for each student and faculty member as it is small and easily portable. Your school has the obligation to ensure that it has adequate hurricane supplies for all of its students. The is no better way to prepare your school for a hurricane than to ensure that each student has its own personal school survival kit.

Hurricane Preparedness Plan

Out of State Contact Cards OUT-OF-STATE-CONTACTS: Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Advise this designated person to stay by the phone following a hurricane striking your area. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of your designated contact person. Fill out Out-of-State Contact Cards with your out of state relatives' and friends' information so you can keep them informed of your safety. Carry them at all times! Following an earthquake, if you are separated from your loved ones, call your out-of-state contact number. Give your contact critical information including your physical condition, location, direction in route and plan to reunite. Check back regularly to update and check on whereabouts of your loved ones.

PLAN TO REUNITE: Make a plan on where and how to unite family members. Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. Remember, don't use the phone immediately after a hurricane, and make local calls only for emergencies.

PLAN RESPONSIBILITIES: There will be many things to take care of after a hurricane. Make a plan with your family, friends, and neighbors assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Remember that it may be difficult to get around after a hurricane, so each person's tasks should be related to where they may be.

DEVELOP A MESSAGE DROP: You need to identify a secure location outside your home were family members can leave messages for each other. This way, if you're separated and unable to remain in your home, your family will know where to go to find you. You don't want to publicize that you are not at home. That is why this location should be secure and discrete. i.e. under a paving stone, inside a tin can, in the back yard, etc.

SAFEST PLACE IN YOUR HOME: During a hurricane, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large panes of glass, shelves holding heavy objects, and masonry veneer (such as the fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Know the danger spots, (windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall furniture).

KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT: Always know all the possible ways to exit your house and work place in hurricane situations. Try to discover exits that would only be available to you in an emergency.
Know your open and safe areas that are way from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways. Know the location of the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity. Learn how to operate the valves. If you are not sure, contact your utility company.

CONDUCT PRACTICE DRILLS: Physically place yourself and your children in safe locations. Always know all the possible ways to exit your house and work place in a hurricane situation. Try to discover exits that would only be available to you in an emergency.

Hurricane Risk Reduction

Hurricanes strike suddenly, violently and sometimes without adequate warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from a hurricane. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting. To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
    • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Consider building a safe room.

What To Do During A Hurricane

Do you know what to do during an hurricane? It's definitely something to include in your hurricane preparedness plan. Learn about what actions you can take to increase your chances of survival when a hurricane heads towards your neighborhood.

Hurricane Evacuation Plans

When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used. Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school, or workplace to avoid these situations.

The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.

Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes. Ask local authorities about emergency evacuation routes and see if maps may are available with evacuation routes marked.

Hurricane Evacuation Guide

ALWAYS:

  • Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Make transportation arrangements with friends or your local government if you do not own a car.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.

WHEN TIME PERMITS:

  • Gather your disaster supplies kit.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
    Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
  • Let others know where you are going.

EVACUATE WHEN:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO EVACUATE:

  • If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room.
  • If you do not have safe room, stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

What To Do After A Hurricane

If you have been fortunate enough to survive a major hurricane striking in your area, you still won't be out of the clear yet. The days after a hurricane can be the most difficult to survive due to all the dangers that lurk. Find out what you need to be aware of.

Recovering After A Hurricane

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.

HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES
Your first concern after a disaster is your family’s health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and well-being.

AIDING THE INJURED
Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated. Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.

HEALTH ISSUES
Be aware of exhaustion. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest. Drink plenty of clean water. Eat well. Wear sturdy work boots and gloves. Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and clean water often when working in debris. Buy our Hygiene Kit, which helps you keep clean when fresh water may not be available.

SAFETY ISSUES
Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors. Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation, and dead animals.

Returning Home After A Hurricane

Returning home after a hurricane can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution. Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. Stay informed with our solar powered and hand-crank generator radio and flashlight to listen for emergency updates and to to inspect your damaged home.

BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR HOME: Assess the damage by carefully walking around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

DO NOT ENTER IF: You smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building, and/or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

GOING INSIDE YOUR HOME: When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

  • Natural gas - If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. If possible call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.
  • Sparks, broken or frayed wires - Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
  • Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks - If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
  • Appliances - If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
  • Water and sewage systems - If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
  • Food and other supplies - Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
  • Your basement - If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
  • Open cabinets - Be alert for objects that may fall.
  • Clean up household chemical spills - Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
  • Call your insurance agent - Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.

Seeking Assistance After A Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.


Coping After A Hurricane

Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

  • Difficulty communicating thoughts.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
  • Low threshold of frustration.
  • Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
  • Limited attention span.
  • Poor work performance.
  • Headaches/stomach problems.
  • Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
  • Colds or flu-like symptoms.
  • Disorientation or confusion.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Reluctance to leave home.
  • Depression, sadness.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
  • Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
  • Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:


Helping Children Cope After A Hurricane

Children’s reactions are influenced by the behavior, thoughts, and feelings of adults. Adults should encourage children and adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings about the incident. Clarify misunderstandings about risk and danger by listening to children’s concerns and answering questions. Maintain a sense of calm by validating children’s concerns and perceptions and with discussion of concrete plans for safety.

Listen to what the child is saying. If a young child is asking questions about the event, answer them simply without the elaboration needed for an older child or adult. Some children are comforted by knowing more or less information than others; decide what level of information your particular child needs. If a child has difficulty expressing feelings, allow the child to draw a picture or tell a story of what happened. Try to understand what is causing anxieties and fears.

Be aware that following a disaster, children are most afraid that: the event will happen again, someone close to them will be killed or injured, and/or they will be left alone or separated from the family.

REASSURING CHILDREN AFTER A DISASTER:

  • Personal contact is reassuring. Hug and touch your children.
  • Calmly provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans.
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings.
  • Spend extra time with your children such as at bedtime.
  • Re-establish your daily routine for work, school, play, meals, and rest.
  • Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life.
  • Praise and recognize responsible behavior.
  • Understand that your children will have a range of reactions to disasters.
  • Encourage your children to help update your a family disaster plan.

If you have tried to create a reassuring environment by following the steps above, but your child continues to exhibit stress, if the reactions worsen over time, or if they cause interference with daily behavior at school, at home, or with other relationships, it may be appropriate to talk to a professional. You can get professional help from the child’s primary care physician, a mental health provider specializing in children’s needs, or a member of the clergy.