How to Prepare for and Survive Hurricanes (With Tips)

Natural disasters are sometimes perceived as nature’s way of showing us who is actually in charge of everything. No scientific development can stop a natural calamity from happening. 

The most that we can expect is a warning by the weather department of an upcoming catastrophe and we must prepare to our full extent to reduce the loss of life and property. 

For that, we need to be in possession of all the dos and don’ts and plan our preparation accordingly. So let’s now see how you can prepare for and survive hurricanes…

What is a Hurricane?

Hurricanes are a type of tropical cyclones. It generally generates over tropical and subtropical water bodies. Hurricanes majorly originate in the Atlantic basin.

The Atlantic Basic consists of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern and the Central North Pacific Ocean. The coastal regions are at the greatest risk if a hurricane is to occur. The storms that originate in the water can cause havoc in the adjoining land areas. 

Hurricanes typically cause high winds for prolonged periods of time, torrential downpour which can also go on for weeks at a stretch, consequent flooding and storm surges. For a tropical storm to qualify as a hurricane, it needs to be more than 74kmph in speed. When a hurricane hits the shore, the life and property of the area face immense risk and huge losses. It often takes months to recover from the losses incurred by the hurricane. 

There is also a distinct season for hurricanes which start from the month of June and continue till the end of November. However, hurricanes can take place at any time of the year, and with the increasing climate change crisis the pattern is changing very fast as nature has become much more unpredictable.

How to prepare for a Hurricane?

Once you have got the alert of an upcoming Hurricane, you have to stay calm and handle everything very tactfully. There are certain steps that you need to follow to make sure of the fact that you are completely ready for it and so that you face no difficulty to cope with the situation. 

1. Planning

The main thing that you need to do is to make a plan and build a survival cache. This will entail what to do when the storm arrives. You might need to evacuate as well. For any evacuation-related procedure, you should follow the community guidelines provided by the local governing body. 

The best thing would be to find a space for meeting and sticking to people who might comprise your immediate neighbours and the people of the area. In case you have pets, you need to plan for their evacuation as well. 

2. Protecting your house

Both the exteriors and the interiors of your home should be made ready to face the hurricane. If you have an outdoor garden, make sure to trim the shrubs and trees to avoid felling. You must also bring in all the outdoor furniture, motors and plants to save them from the storm. 

In the case of the interiors of your house, you must act very carefully. Make sure to install storm shutters that provide protection from the high-speed winds that are to hit. Takedown all the wall hangings and art pieces which might fall off, be destroyed, and create problems during the hurricane.

You can also build small survival shelters in case anything happens to your house.

3. Emergency survival kit

You should have an emergency kit at your disposal at all times. It is crucial in cases of such calamities. This kit should include basic medical supplies, flashlights, extra batteries, power banks, bottled drinking water, dry and non-perishable food items, clothing and blankets, cash, a portable radio for communication purposes and basic toiletries. 

4. Power

It’s not only about the electricity at your house. Apart from charging all the devices you must also make sure your car has enough fuel, your generator is aptly charged and you have enough fuel in case of power cuts.

5. Take care of important documents

One of the most important things in cases of calamities which can cause floods is that you need to secure all of your documents which are crucial for your identity and survival. 

You must have a secure and bolted deposit box which can hold important documents such as birth certificates, IDs and legal papers and put it somewhere safe. Make sure it is waterproof. 

6. Arrange for a shelter

In case you have to evacuate, you have to take shelter somewhere. The best possible place is to take refuge in big buildings such as the town hall, the local high-school or the nearest community centre. Make sure to make all the arrangements beforehand and inform others who will face a similar situation.

What to do Before a Hurricane?

The time before the arrival of the hurricane is one full of anxiety and restlessness. It’s normal to freak out but it shouldn’t come in the way of your preparation.

The preparations that you should undertake before the arrival of a hurricane are listed below…

  1. Make sure you charge up all your devices and unplug each of them before the storm’s estimated arrival time.
  1. Secure the doors and windows of your house firmly to avoid a gush of wind to make it fall apart. 
  1. Fill drinking water in bottles and store it somewhere safe. Also, make sure you have enough dry food left aside. 
  1. In case you have pets, make sure their name tags are updated and water-proof in nature.
  1. Hold a discussion session with your family who will be with you at your house during the storm. Inform them about everything that they need to know and assure them that however big a challenge it is, you will stick together and fight through it. Keeping spirits high is important. Make sure none of them is intoxicated. 
  1. Store enough water for use in the toilet. 
  1. Make a proper plan for evacuation consisting of multiple escape routes. 

What to do During a Hurricane?

Once the hurricane arrives and the strong winds and rain start causing the damage, you have to make sure not to lose your calm. But there are certain other things that you need to do. 

  1. Choose a central place in your house or a centre where people have gathered. This should be away from all doors and windows.
  1. Turn off the main electric supply to avoid electrocuting which might be caused by thunder and rain. 
  1. Continuously keep a check on the radio broadcast in case the television line and the internet connection goes off. This is extremely crucial for you to initiate evacuation at any time. 
  1. In case you see that the flooding has started, shift all valuables to a higher floor.
  1. Do not make the mistake of using candles during the power cut because they might cause a fire. Instead, use flashlights.
  1. Even when you think that the storm has passed, do not go out because the eye of the hurricane might approach later which is the most dangerous part. 

Conclusion — Prepare for and Survive Hurricanes

The most important thing about facing a natural calamity is the acceptance of the fact that one will have to fight through the crisis. 

The second step is to prepare for it after the warnings are released. One must also abstain from panicking to reduce the risk of any anxiety-induced attacks. Now that you know everything that you need to know about Hurricanes, we hope that if and when the time comes, you will fight through it and survive.

Article by:

Eric Birch

Eric Birch is a survival specialist trained in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program. When he’s not ferociously learning new survival tactics, he enjoys the great outdoors, and/or cheering on one of his favorite sports teams.

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