Two-thirds of the way through the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, the weather is still looking remarkably quiet. But the season doesn’t end until Nov. 30, and it’s still important to have a hurricane preparedness plan in place. Here are some steps you should take to keep you and your family safe:
- Put Together a Disaster Kit
A kit should always include the following:
- A battery-operated radio
- Flashlights and batteies
- 3 gallons of drinkable water per family member, stored in a food-grade plastic container
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food (rotated every six months)
- A first-aid kit
- Basic sanitation items
- Blankets and coats
- Copies of important documents
Detailed item-by-item lists are available through numerous government or nonprofit organizations.
- Create a Contact and Evacuation Plan
Keep a document — both printed and digital — detailing names, contact information and vital medical information for each of your family members. Also agree on meeting places in your home, in your neighborhood and out of town where you will reunite during or after a disaster.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency actually provides several PDFs on its website (ready.gov) that you can use to record this information, if you prefer. Print the most vital contact information on cards that each family member can keep in a wallet or backpack; people often aren’t thinking clearly during an emergency, and need written reminders.
- Protect Your Home
There’s no such thing as a hurricane-proof home, but there are several hurricane home preparation measures you should take. Install aluminum storm shutters on your windows, and make sure any door glass is impact-resistant. Hurricane impact windows are another option. Pay attention to your garage door, too, checking that it’s rated to withstand high winds.
Have a designated shed or garage area where you can move patio furniture when a storm is coming, since winds can hurl objects against your home and cause serious damage. Keeping on top of basic maintenance like cleaning the gutters can prevent water damage, and it’s a good idea to have a pump on hand in case your home does flood.