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People who live along the coast know the importance of being prepared for a hurricane. There are actually two different scenarios to prepare for. One involves getting ready for evacuation, and the other has to do with remaining at home and riding out the hurricane.
Depending on the severity of the impending hurricane, a local emergency may be declared, and people urged to leave the area before the hurricane approaches shore. For this reason, it is essential that anyone living in an area where hurricanes are a real possibility know which roads are designated as evacuation routes. In the United States, it is not uncommon for the interstate system to be utilized as part of an evacuation route, with both sets of lanes rerouted to move traffic in a direction away from the hurricane.
Even when evacuation is necessary, part of hurricane preparedness requires that you have certain goods on hand that will allow you to manage once you reach a shelter or some other point that is outside the danger zone of the hurricane. For example, you will need to take along a couple of changes of clothing, basic toiletries, and at least one towel per person. Non-perishable food items are also a good idea, such as canned soups, vegetables, meats, and fruits. A supply of dry nuts and fruits are ideal for a quick snack. Don’t forget to include several bottles of water in your kit as well, as there is no guarantee there will be an ample water supply when you reach your destination.
For people who choose to remain at home, there are several important aspects of hurricane preparedness that are essential. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable foods on hand that can be consumed without cooking. This includes different types of canned goods, dried fruits, and plenty of nuts. Have an ample supply of drinking water on hand also. Keep in mind that for a short time after a hurricane, water obtained through the local system may or may not be fit for consumption.
With plenty of food in the home, make sure you have a basic first aid kit on the premises. If you take prescription medication, have enough on hand to ride out the disaster. Include over the counter pain medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Your hurricane preparedness kit should also include bandages and basic ointments to deal with burns, insect bites, or minor scratches.
Don’t forget to include batteries and flashlights in your hurricane preparedness plans. You will need them to operate portable devices like radios in order to keep up with what is happening outside. If possible, purchase a radio that is equipped with a crank handle, for use in case your battery power is exhausted. You may want to invest in a charger that can be hooked directly to batteries and used to power your cell phone, just in case your service is functional immediately after the hurricane passes. Candles are also a good idea, since it may get very dark during the worst part of the hurricane.
Securing your home is important to your hurricane preparedness plans, whether you plan on riding out the storm or evacuating. Sheets of plywood can be nailed over windows and doors if necessary. However, many people who live in hurricane prone areas invest in a set of metal covers that can be quickly put into place over windows, patio doors, and other entryways to the home. While this will make the interior of the home dark, these efforts will also help minimize the wind and water damage that is likely to occur, as well as protect you if you’ve chosen to remain in your home during the hurricane.
As part of your overall hurricane preparedness, make sure you make use of resources and suggestions provided by your local emergency preparedness agency. They will have information that is relevant to your area, as well as general suggestions that tend to apply in any location. Knowing this information and making use of it could make all the difference in your safety and your ability to survive the hurricane and begin the process of rebuilding once the danger has passed.