How to Prepare for and Survive a Hurricane (With Tips)

Natural disasters are sometimes perceived as nature’s way of showing us who is actually in charge of everything.

Unfortunately, no scientific development can stop a natural disasters from happening. 

One of the deadliest U.S. hurricane on record was a Category 4 storm that hit the island city of Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 8, 1900.

Around 8,000 people lost their lives when 15-ft waves and 130-mph winds destroyed the island.

However, at that time, if people knew about how to prepare for and survive a hurricane, then they may not lose their lives.

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 have all the dos and don’ts and plan our preparation accordingly.

In this article, we’ll see how to survive a hurricane.

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 most significant risk if a hurricane hits. It is because the storms that originate in the water can cause havoc in the adjoining land areas. 

Hurricanes typically cause high winds for prolonged periods, torrential downpours, which can also go on for weeks at a stretch, consequent flood 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 after the storm has passed. 

Hurricane visualization

There is also a distinct hurricane season that starts in June and continues till the end of November.

That’s why agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advise you to be prepared at the time of hurricane season.

However, hurricanes can occur 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.

Still, we have to make sure whenever the hurricane hits; we are ready for our survival.

How to prepare for a Hurricane?

Once you have got the alert of an upcoming Hurricane, it’s time to prepare yourself and stay safe.

You need to follow specific steps to make sure that you are entirely ready for it and face no difficulty in coping with natural disasters. 

1. Planning

The main thing that you need to do is to make a plan and build a survival cache. It will entail what to do when the storm arrives.

Moreover, you might need to evacuate as well, so you must take advice from local authorities.

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 neighbors and the area’s people.

In case you have pets, you need to plan for their evacuation as well. 

2. Protecting your House

Both the exteriors and interiors of your home should be made ready to face the high winds of the hurricane.

If you have an outdoor garden, make sure to trim the shrubs and trees to avoid felling. Additionally, check there are no downed power lines.

You must also bring in all the outdoor furniture, motors, and plants to save them before the storm surge. 

In the case of the interior room, you must act very carefully by staying away from windows.

First, you need to make sure to install storm shutters that protect your windows from the high winds that are to hit.

Storm shutters

Second, take down all the wall hangings and art pieces that 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 Kit

You should have an emergency kit at your disposal at all times. It is crucial in cases of such calamities.

The emergency kit should include a basic first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, power banks, food and water, clothing and blankets, cash, a portable radio for communication purposes, and basic toiletries. 

Emergency kit

A disaster kit is something that you’ll need before, during, and after the hurricane maybe for several days.

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 energy in case of power cuts.

5. Take Care of Important Documents

One of the essential things in calamities that can cause floods is that you need to secure your documents crucial for your identity and survival. 

It would be best to have a secure and bolted deposit box that can hold important documents such as birth certificates, IDs, insurance company papers, and legal papers and put them somewhere safe. Also, make sure it is waterproof. 

If your documents are online, then it is suggested to take a print as you won’t be able to access documents online during and after a hurricane.

6. Arrange a Shelter

In case you have to evacuate, you have to take shelter somewhere.

The best possible place is to take refuge in significant buildings such as the town hall, the local high school, or the nearest community center.

And, 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. Of course, 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. Ensure you charge up all your devices (keep extra batteries) and unplug each of them before the storm’s estimated arrival time.
  1. Secure the glass doors and stay away from 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 supplies for you and your family. 
  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 members, 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 essential. Make sure none of them is intoxicated. 
  1. Store enough water for use in the toilet. 
  1. Make family disaster plans for evacuation consisting of multiple escape routes. 
  2. Keep a first aid kit with yourself whether you stay inside, in shelters, or an interior room.

What to do During a Hurricane?

Once the hurricane arrives and the strong winds and rain start causing the damage, you have to make an emergency plan.

But there are certain other things that you need to do. 

  1. Choose a central place in your house or a center where people have gathered. It 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 if the television line and the internet connection go off. It would be best if you initiated evacuation at any time. 
  1. In case you see that the flooding has started, shift all valuables to a higher floor.
  1. Please 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 storm might approach later, which is the most dangerous part.
  2. Listen to the radio or television for weather conditions and updates.

What to do After a Hurricane?

Once the hurricane storm has passed, you need to make plans for certain other things, as discussed below. 

  1. After the hurricane stops, do not plug in all the major appliances.
  2. Avoid downed power lines and report them immediately to the local transmission and distribution services utility.
  3. Please stay away from flood waters as they can contain harmful contaminants and dangerous debris.
  4. If you have generators in your house, then they should keep away from doors and windows. Additionally, before refilling the generator with gas, it’s good to make them cool first.

Conclusion — Hurricane Survival

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

The second step is to be prepared for it after the warnings are released. One must also abstain from panicking to reduce the risk of losing a life.

Now that you know everything you need to know about hurricanes, we hope you will fight through them and survive if and when the time comes.

Do you need any help related to preparing and surviving hurricanes? Tell us in the comment section below.

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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