Katrina. Sandy. Irma. When most people hear these names, they don’t think of human beings. They think of three deadly, ferocious hurricanes that ravaged cities, killed hundreds and cost upwards of $1 billion each. Hurricanes pack winds that can top 200 mph and are the fourth worst type of natural disaster. In addition to high winds, they can also spawn tornadoes, heavy rainfall, storm surges, rip currents, landslides, and flooding.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 to November 30. The Pacific’s season is May 15 to November 30. Even if you’re 100 miles inland, you may not be safe. Knowing this, you can prepare in advance for one of these monster storms. By starting preparations early, you’ll avoid the last-minute frenzy at home supply stores and grocery stores.
Neptune Flood insurance, with high coverage limits of up to $500,000 for your home and $200,000 for its contents, is a crucial part of cyclone defense. Please follow these hurricane preparedness steps to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe.
No matter how many emergency supplies you stockpile, they won’t make any difference if you don’t know where to go when disaster strikes. You’ll need to:
• Contact a local emergency management agency to learn your hurricane evacuation routes.
• Be prepared to drive at least 50 miles inland. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and that your car is in good working order. Even having new wiper blades is significant in a disaster. Have an extra set of clothing and supplies in your car.
• Practice evacuation drills, and also have an alternate evacuation route. Know where you’ll meet up if you’re separated. Include your pets in these drills, so they’ll acclimate to calmly entering and traveling in their carriers.
• Sign up for wireless emergency alerts.
• Call friends or relatives who are outside the danger zone and ask if you can stay with them.
Secure Your Home and Valuables
The sheer magnitude of a hurricane can easily turn large objects into playthings and flood your home. Neptune Flood, with locations in 25 states, can help in the aftermath of water damage. First, in order to reduce potential water or property damage be sure to:
• Trim tree branches.
• Reinforce your roof, windows, and doors. Garage doors are the most vulnerable.
• Cover windows with permanent storm shutters or 5/8-inch plywood boards.
• Bring in trashcans, lawn furniture, and outdoor decorations.
• Sandbag parts of your home that are susceptible to flooding. If these overflow, Neptune Flood will help you deal with the damages.
• Move your vehicle to a secure area. It only takes one foot of moving water to float a car and two feet to sweep it away.
• Secure electronics such as computers and televisions, and affix bookcases and filing cabinets to wall studs. Anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring indoors, such as gas grills and propane tanks.
• Have a wrench to turn off utilities.
• Assemble important financial, educational, legal and medical documents. Add your Neptune Flood insurance documents to this stash so they’ll be handy for you to refer to after the hurricane subsides. Place them all in a waterproof container. Keep your ID or driver’s license with you, as well.
• Carry cash in case banks and ATMs shut down. Credit cards and debit cards won’t work during a disaster.
It takes time for emergency responders to bring supplies after a hurricane, so it’s essential that you have an adequate water supply. Do not drink tap water, as it may be contaminated.
• A week’s worth of water is ideal. You can store it in plastic bottles (not milk jugs, as they can decompose and not glass, which can break). It can also be kept in pots, pans, jugs, and clean bathtubs.
• At the very least, keep three days’ worth of water — one gallon of water per person per day. This water will also be used for drinking, food prep and sanitation.
• If you live in a hot region and need to perform strenuous actives, you’ll have to double that amount. Nursing mothers, children and people who are ill will also need more.
Although humans can go much longer without food than water, you’ll still need to make sure you have sufficient nourishment during a hurricane. Here are some of the foods to stockpile:
• Food that doesn’t go bad, such as canned food. (Remember to bring a manual can opener or stock up on pop top cans.)
• Canned fruit in juice, not syrup.
• Dried fruits.
• Energy bars.
• Avoid foods that make you thirsty.
During a hurricane, you won’t have access to your pharmacy, so make sure in advance that you have a week’s worth of:
• Prescription medications. Ask your doctor if you can have an extra supply for an emergency reserve.
• Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, antacids, and laxatives.
Babies normally have special needs, and these escalate during emergencies. Make sure to provide them with:
• Water — Just like adults, babies need one gallon of water a day for five days. In addition to drinking, it will be needed for formula and sanitation.
• Food — Jarred food will keep well. Get five jars a day for five days, and be sure to add fruits and vegetables.
• Formula — Again, you’ll need enough for at least five days.
• Diapers — Babies rapidly go through diapers, so it’s best to get a box of them. Bring boxes of large plastic drawstring bags to dispose of soiled diapers.
• Plastic Bottles — Bring five clean bottles and five nipples.
• Clothing — Even under the best circumstances, babies need multiple daily clothing changes. Bring at least six extra outfits in addition to what your baby normally wears in five days. Keep them dry in zipper-close plastic bags.
Remember to pack supplies for your favorite furbabies as part of your hurricane preparedness. You’ll need to make arrangements before the hurricane makes landfall. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this. If you wait until an actual evacuation, rescue officials may forbid you from taking your pets with you. (If you own larger animals, such as horses or livestock, decide how to transport them.)
• Most evacuation shelters don’t accept pets unless they’re service animals. Some will if you can show proof of vaccination.
• Call hotels in a safe area ahead of time and ask if they accept pets, if they accept them for a fee or if they can lift their no-pets policy during an emergency.
• Keep your pets on leashes or in carriers.
• Pack at least three days’ worth of dry food and pop-top canned food.
• Bring cat litter and medications.
• Your pets should wear tags imprinted with their names and your phone number, as well as their microchip number if they have one. (If not, you may want to consider getting them “chipped” in anticipation of a disaster.)
• Take a selfie or two of you with your pet, and keep them with you in case you get separated. Since many animals look similar, your image will help you and your pet reunite faster.
Clothes and Bedding
You’ll have to take the bare necessities with you, so here are the most important items to bring:
• One change of clothes
• Sturdy shoes such as work boots or hiking boots
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Rain gear
• Hats and gloves
• Since hurricane season runs until November 30, bring thermal clothes to keep warm if you live in northern regions.
Be sure you can take care of your safety needs by having a:
• Fire extinguisher
• Flashlight or battery-operated lantern and extra batteries
• Duct tape and scissors
• Utility knife
• Battery-operated radio so you receive emergency information
• Battery-operated or solar cell phone charger
• Lighter or matches in a waterproof container
• Whistle on a neck chain. Three whistle-bursts are an internationally recognized distress signal.
• Household liquid bleach and a medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, this solution can be used as a disinfectant. You can also treat water by using 16 drops of liquid bleach per gallon of water. Iodine tablets will also make your drinking water safe.
First Aid Kit
Without access to medical help, an important part of hurricane preparedness is a first aid kit. The Red Cross suggests that first aid kits for a family of four include:
• 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
• 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
• 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
• 5 antibiotic ointment packets
• 5 antiseptic wipe packets
• 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
• 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
• 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
• Oral thermometer
• 2 triangular bandages
• Non-latex gloves
You can also obtain ready-made first aid kits at drugstores, sporting goods stores, big-box stores or directly from the Red Cross.
These products are convenient to pack and carry and will help tide you over until the cyclone passes:
• Hand sanitizer
• Towelettes and toilet paper. Bring more toilet paper than you think you’ll need.
• Feminine supplies
• Toothpaste and toothbrush
• Plastic bags and ties in lieu of bathrooms
Unlike other natural disasters, hurricanes can be anticipated because they have a specific active season. You can take action far in advance to ready yourself for a disaster.
As you’re gathering information and supplies, don’t forget to get technologically-advanced, affordable flood coverage from Neptune Flood. Contact us today and we’ll be there to assist you with one of the most important parts of hurricane preparedness.