Being outdoors can be a lot of fun. With the sun on your skin and the fresh breeze ruffling your hair, it feels incredible being away from the noise and pollution of the crowded city and closer to Mother Nature. That is true until Mother Nature takes a turn for the worse and flies into a fearsome rage. Crazy high winds ensue with the force of Thor’s hammer and rain patters down from the sky with a vengeance.
In a matter of a few seconds, your happy camping trip out in the wilderness takes a tragic turn and converts it into a horror movie based on survival in a hurricane!
Before you are forced to run for cover as the sky bursts open and showers holy hell all over you, it’s a good idea to have some basic knowledge about hurricane preparedness. This article will teach you about hurricane safety tips to follow before, during, and after a hurricane.
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When does Hurricane Season Start?
September is easily the month hit by the most number of hurricanes in the US. The hurricane season, or to be more specific, the Atlantic hurricane season usually begins from the start of June and continues till the end of November. The Eastern hurricane season, however, starts slightly earlier, from the latter half of May, and stretches to the end of November as well.
When does Hurricane Season End?
The hurricane season ends from the 1st of December, and peaceful winds usually carry on till April. The period between the start of April to mid of May is generally the quietest.
How long do Hurricanes Last?
The worst bit of a hurricane can last for as little as 6-8 hours, after which the flooding rain and fierce gales may thin out to light rain and somewhat gentler winds for up to 24 hours. But if your luck is particularly unfortunate, a hurricane can go on for many long weeks (Remember Hurricane John that lasted for a whole month in 1994!).
What to do BEFORE a Hurricane Hits?
Despite the most advanced weather prediction technique and technology, there is no sure shot guarantee of knowing when a hurricane may strike and how long it can continue. One thing that can, however, be easily done to ensure safety, is keeping a hurricane survival kit handy at all times.
Hurricane Preparedness Kit
The ideal hurricane preparedness kit should contain items that are easy to store for long periods, light enough carry, in case you have to move and sufficient enough to last for at least 72 hours.
For your help and guidance, we have compiled a hurricane preparedness list, based on recommendations provided by the National Hurricane Centre, and our own tried and tested experience. The ideal disaster survival kit should contain the following seven essential items:
You should keep a supply of non-perishable food items that should last for a minimum of 3 days. Non-perishable items include granola bars, chocolates, army ration packs, and canned food.
Of course, this goes without saying that you should always keep some clean water around and store at least a gallon in your kit for both hydrating yourself and sanitation purposes.
It’s safe to expect that power won’t last long when a hurricane hits. So it’s essential to keep good quality flashlights in your hurricane preparedness kit along with some spare batteries.
Sleeping bag or waterproof blanket
A useful item in any survival kit, a sleeping bag can be used to sleep in as well as keep yourself warm and shielded from cold wind and rain.
Wireless communication device
A walkie-talkie or radio should be kept in case both phone lines and Wi-Fi are down, to ask for help in emergencies and contact rescue services. For a better solution, use satellite phones.
Read the Wilderness Emergency Communication Gear Guide to find out more.
A matchbox is a staple for all survival kits and can be useful for both lighting up a fire to stay warm and cook food as well as a backup option in case the batteries in your flashlight run out.
First Aid Kit
A small box containing cotton bandages, alcohol wipes, gauze, and painkillers should be kept along with any essential prescription medicines/supplies if needed (such as asthma inhalers, insulin, etc.)
We also recommend you keep the following non-essential items as well:
Although not mandatory, it’s smart to keep a wad of cash in small bills in your kit in case you need to purchase more supplies. On average, saving at least $50/person is a good idea.
Basic tools like duct tape and a sharp knife can come handy in unexpected scenarios.
Water Purification Tablets
In case you run out of drinkable water, you can collect rainwater and use purification tablets to make it safe for use. To read more on water purification tablets, click here.
If you have small children, then it’s crucial to make a smaller bag for them containing things like diapers, spare bottles, formula milk, extra clothes, etc.
You should not forget to pack for your pet if you have one. Keep a can of cat/dog food in your kit to feed them.
This will keep you updated about the news, rescue measures, and any possible alerts for evacuation.
What to do DURING a Hurricane?
Now that you’ve made the required preparation before a hurricane hits let us tell you the dos and don’ts of during a hurricane.
- Take cover. A hurricane is not the time for adventure by taking your safety for granted. So stay indoors and wait out the storm.
- Tightly close all doors and windows and if you have any leaking corners, cover them up with some paper and duct tape.
- Keep checking the news to stay updated.
- Take out your hurricane preparedness kit and double-check it. Stock it up with more supplies if you can.
- Turn off heavy electrical devices like air conditioners to save power and protecting them from shorting out.
- Stay on high ground to avoid flooding.
- Fill up your bathtubs with water in case the water lines are affected, and there is no more running water.
- If you hear the alert for evacuation over the TV or radio, do so immediately!
- If advised to evacuate, unplug all electrical devices before leaving and follow recommended routes only.
- Don’t panic! It is vital to stay calm and keep a cool head during a storm.
- Don’t handle electrical sockets, wires, or even electronic devices to avoid electrocution.
- Don’t use candles to light up your house as they may start a fire. Use flashlights only.
- If evacuation is advised, don’t dally! Pack up the car and leave as early as possible.
- Don’t sit near glass windows.
What to do AFTER a Hurricane?
Once the worst of the storm is past, it is still advisable to stay vigilant.
- Keep checking the radio/TV for updates.
- If you have evacuated your house and moved to a rescue shelter, do not leave the shelter until advised by officials.
- Be watchful for broken power lines and exposed plugs. If you come across any, immediately report them to your local power company.
- Avoid stepping into puddles or wading in water as they may be electrically charged or contain sharp debris.
- If you have suffered property damage, take photos to send to your insurance company later for claims.
If you follow these instructions for hurricane preparedness, we are sure you will ride out nature’s wrath safely and securely.
For more info, you can visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes