|HABY'S HURRICANE PREPARATION ADVICE
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
hurricane preparedness can save lots of hassles. In case the worst happens it is best to
be fully prepared and ready to take action once a tropical system develops. Many people procrastinate
and try to do everything at the last minute. If you follow the advice below you will be very
prepared. Also make sure to follow any advice given by your local emergency management officials. It is
a good idea to heed this advice well before hurricane season starts or immediately
upon getting this advice. Below are 25 points of advice:
1. Gasoline will be important to have once word gets out that a tropical system has formed and it
could impact your area. My advice is to always keep your vehicles with half a tank or fuller of
gas during the entire hurricane season (June-November). If you are not able to get gas during the run on the
gas stations at least you will already will have over half a tank. Also keep an extra supply
of gasoline in safe storage during hurricane season. You can use this gas to top of your
gas in the car instead of waiting in long gas lines. Also make sure to keep a supply of gas
for power equipment such as a chain saw. Once
hurricane season is over then use up this
stored gas so that it does not go bad.
2. Water will be important to have if you are stuck at home and the water goes out. My advice is to
save many half gallon, gallon and plastic containers. Make sure they are clean and keep them in
storage. Before the hurricane hits fill all the containers with water. You can use this water
for drinking and showering. A shower can be taken with only a half gallon of water. It is called
an "astronaut" shower. This is done by first wetting with a little water, soaping up, then rinsing
off with the rest of the water in the container. Keep enough water to potentially last for weeks. Buy
several 10 and 20 gallon containers. Have at least 20 gallon per person before the storm hits.
3. Light will be important to have since the electricity is likely to go out. Keep a large cache of
candles and flashlights. Keep the batteries in there original container so that you can insure
to have fresh batteries when the storm hits. Have a container of matches. Make sure all candles
are lit in a safe area.
4. My advice is to clean the entire refrigerator / freezer out before
you evacuate. Throw everything in there away. Most people are going to hope for the
best and think they will evacuate and then come back a couple of days later to an undamaged residence
with the electricity still on. However, you will have to endure an awful ordeal if all the food
spoils in the refrigerator / freezer. Keep large plastic sealable bags to throw the food out and
then hopefully there will be a final garage pickup before the storm hits. At least the spoiled food
will be outside instead of inside if the trash is not picked up.
5. Documents will be important to have after the storm hits. My advice is to keep all important
documents together and in zip lock bags. The zip lock bags prevent them from getting water damage
and keeps them together in one place. Make sure you have all insurance documents, personal
documents, identifications and other important documents.
6. Keep a supply of nonperishable food that requires no cooking. Make sure to have a
manual can opener.
7. If you have a residence that needs to have windows boarded then keep these wood boards in supply.
It can be very difficult to get these supplies once a tropical system develops. Keep extra boards
in case new ones are needed.
8. Before the storm hits, freeze several plastic water bottles. Also, put the refrigerator / freezer
on the coldest setting. Make sure the plastic bottles will not break when
the water expands as it freezes. These ice blocks in your refrigerator and freezer will keep the
temperature cool for a long period of time after the power goes out. If the storm looks like it
is really going to be bad then follow the advice in #4.
9. If you are ordered to evacuate then be already fully prepared to leave. Have a plan in place
of what you and your family will do if evacuation is required. Have a plan in place so that
you can contact other family members in case you get separated.
10. Keep a supply of secret cash. It may become more difficult to pay for supplies if you do
not have cash. The banks may run out of money and may close when it is determined the
tropical system will head for your area. My advice is to already have the cash on hand instead of
dealing with long bank lines and the prospects of having no money.
11. Keep your prescription drugs together in a zip lock plastic bag once you evacuate. Make sure
you have documentation of every prescription drug that you need inside the plastic bag.
12. Protect your belongings in your residence from water damage. Electric equipment should
be put up, unplugged and covered with plastic wrap. In case roof damage occurs, cover sensitive furniture
with plastic. Water can leak through the doors and windows due to the pressure of the wind.
13. Don't buy any new property near coastal areas that can be hit by a hurricane unless you
can fully recover the costs if a hurricane hits. Locations that can flood are at extreme
14. Keep a battery operated radio and mini-TV. Information will be very valuable after the
hurricane hits and the power is out.
15. If you are able to and you can afford it then it is a good idea to do the following: reinforce the supports
that hold your roof to the home, reinforce fencing, cut down tall trees that could fall on the
home, install storm shutters that can go over the front and back doors, keep a supply of generators,
have a chain saw that someone knows how to use safely to cut through tree debris near the home, and have a
very strong garage door.
16. If you live in a mobile home or trailer then absolutely do not ride out the storm inside it. You must
evacuate since strong winds will destroy these structures first. If the storm surge has any chance
of reaching your location you must evacuate well before the storm hits no matter what structure you
17. If you ride out the storm, stay in an interior room (no windows) on the lowest floor (unless it is flooding)
and have sturdy supports around
you such as being under a desk, in a well build closet or in a well build bathroom. Do not
attempt to go outside to check on things until it is obvious the storm is over. If the eye
passes over, do not go outside at this point because the strongest wind of the hurricane will
hit just as soon as the eye completes the pass over.
18. Take the necessary precautions to prevent fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, drowning, electrocution,
traffic accidents and other accidents. Many storm deaths and injuries occur after the storm hits.
19. Besides the ones already mentioned, have the following supplies
in the home or shed: fire extinguisher, first aid kit, rubbing alcohol, wet wipes, tarps, power tools, a complete
tool set, extra toilet paper, and a weapon of your choice to protect the home.
20. Keep an extra supply of anything that is important to you in case it runs out.
21. Have a charcoal or gas grill. Keep extra supplies of gas and charcoal. This can be used
for big cookouts once the electricity goes out and you want to cook the remaining food
in the refrigerator / freezer before it goes bad.
22. Have an extra freezer in the garage. Keep ice stored in it during hurricane season. Also have
large igloo coolers. Once the power goes out the ice will last a long time in the igloo. Store
foods in the coolers and the extra freezer that need to say cold once the power goes out.
23. Keep trees well pruned. Limbs and trees falling on the home contribute to a significant
amount of the damage. My advice is to limit the number of trees and limbs that could
fall on the home.
24. Loose objects become missiles when moved by the wind. Outside items that can be
tossed by the wind need to be brought inside or secured.
25. In case the plumbing goes out develop a method beforehand for disposing of waste products. Keep extra
water to keep plumbing flowing.