The Wisdom I Learned Surviving 3 Hurricanes (Part 1 of 3)
Living in a hurricane-prone area can be quite challenging. Having experienced and survived not just one, but three hurricanes in my lifetime, I’ve gained a wealth of wisdom that I would like to share with you. In this three-part series, I will delve into the preparation, survival, and recovery strategies that proved invaluable during these intense natural disasters.
Preparing for the Storm
When it comes to surviving hurricanes, proper preparation is key. Here are some indispensable tips to consider:
1. Create an Emergency Kit
Having a well-stocked emergency kit is essential. It should include the following items:
– Non-perishable food items: Stock up on canned goods, protein bars, and dried fruits.
– Water: Aim for at least one gallon of water per person, per day, for a minimum of three days.
– Medications: Ensure you have an ample supply of prescription medications, as well as basic over-the-counter remedies for common ailments.
– First aid kit: Include bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any necessary medical supplies.
– Clothing and bedding: Pack extra clothes, blankets, and sleeping bags for each family member.
– Tools and supplies: Have a flashlight, batteries, a hand-crank radio, a multi-tool, duct tape, and a whistle.
– Personal hygiene items: Pack toiletries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and feminine supplies.
– Important documents: Keep copies of identification, insurance policies, and important phone numbers in a waterproof container.
2. Secure Your Property
Before a hurricane hits, take steps to reinforce your home and minimize damage:
– Trim trees and shrubs to remove weak branches that could become projectiles during high winds.
– Board up windows with hurricane shutters or plywood, ensuring a secure fit.
– Clear gutters, drains, and downspouts of debris to prevent blockage and flooding.
– Consider installing storm surge barriers to protect against coastal flooding.
– Anchor outdoor furniture or bring it indoors to prevent it from becoming airborne.
3. Evacuation Plan
In some cases, it may be necessary to evacuate your area. Here’s how to ensure a smooth evacuation:
– Identify evacuation routes in your community and keep them on hand.
– Prepare a “go bag” with essential items and documents, including cash, identification, and a list of emergency contacts.
– Plan an evacuation destination and communicate it with your family members.
– Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full in case of traffic or road closures.
– Check on elderly or disabled neighbors who may need assistance with evacuation.
Riding Out the Storm
When the hurricane strikes and evacuation is not an option, staying safe in your home becomes crucial. Here’s how to ride out the storm:
1. Stay Indoors
During the hurricane, stay inside and take shelter in the most secure area of your home, away from windows and doors.
2. Have a Battery-Powered Radio
A battery-powered radio will keep you informed about the latest updates from emergency authorities and help you stay connected to the outside world.
3. Stay Away from Flooded Areas
Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters, as they may be deeper than they appear and contain hidden hazards. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet, while two feet of water can carry away most vehicles.
4. Use Candles with Caution
If the power goes out, use candles with caution. Keep them away from flammable materials, never leave them unattended, and extinguish them before going to sleep.
5. Conserve Water and Food
Since utilities may be disrupted during the storm, conserve water and ration food. Use perishable items first and store food in a cooler with ice if necessary.
Recovering After the Storm
Once the hurricane has passed, it’s time to assess the damage and begin the recovery process. Here are some tips on how to proceed:
1. Check for Structural Damage
Inspect your home for any signs of damage, such as roof leaks, cracked walls, or foundation issues. If you notice any major concerns, contact professionals for assistance.
2. Document Damage for Insurance Claims
Take photographs or videos of the damage for insurance purposes. Make a detailed list of all damaged items and their approximate value.
3. Stay Clear of Downed Power Lines
If you come across a downed power line, assume it is live and dangerous. Keep a safe distance and report it to the proper authorities.
4. Avoid Flooded Areas
Continue to avoid flooded areas, as water may be contaminated or hiding other hazards, such as debris or displaced wildlife.
5. Replenish your Supplies
Restocking your emergency supplies should be a priority. Replace any items used during the hurricane, such as food, water, medications, and batteries.
My 2 Cents
As I reflect on my experiences surviving these hurricanes, one thing stands out—the importance of preparedness. Taking the time to create an emergency kit, secure your property, and have an evacuation plan can mean the difference between life and death. Additionally, riding out the storm safely involves staying indoors, staying informed, and using caution with open flames. Finally, recovering after the storm requires careful assessment of damage, documentation for insurance claims, and continued vigilance in avoiding unsafe areas.
Remember, hurricanes are unpredictable, and it’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared. Stay tuned for the next installment in this three-part series, where I will discuss the lessons I learned about survival during the hurricanes themselves.