Having a secure home is all well and good, but it's only one piece of the hurricane-preparation puzzle. No matter how storm-proof your home, there's always a chance you'll have to evacuate it -- or be stuck inside it for days during a massive power outage. So, you're going to need a detailed family hurricane plan and an emergency supply kit.
Here are the crucial components of a family hurricane plan:
- Think of safe places to meet in the event of a hurricane if you're unable to stay in your home.
- Identify a safe room in your house where everyone can gather during a hurricane. It should be an interior room, preferably a bathroom or in the basement; stay flexible, though, and be ready to move to an upper floor in case of a strong storm surge.
- Memorize evacuation routes from your home, office or kids' school to a safe place, whether it's a motel, a friend's house or a shelter. The shorter the trip, the better.
- Have all emergency phone numbers stored in your cell phones. This includes an out-of-state friend or relative that the whole family can use as a point of contact.
- All adults should be certified in CPR and first aid.
And your emergency supply kit should include:
- enough water and nonperishable food for each person for three to seven days. Everyone should have a gallon of water per day.
- flashlight and batteries
- first aid kit
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio (batteries should be replaced every six months)
- multipurpose tool
- personal hygiene items
- a week's supply of medications, baby supplies and pet items
- car and house keys
- clothing, hats, shoes and blankets
- copies of personal documents and insurance paperwork
- cell phone chargers
Ninety-nine percent of your job will be complete once you've secured your home, figured out your plan and stocked your emergency kit. At the start of hurricane season every year, double-check your supplies and replace batteries to ensure that you'll be ready to hit the ground running if a hurricane does come your way.