Hurricane Preparedness Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

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Warmer weather can often bring with it strong spring and summer storms that can do massive amounts of damage before they move out of the area. Heat and humidity in the air can make even the smallest thunderstorm explode suddenly into a powerful force that can not be reckoned with and that isn’t taking storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes into account. Both have the potential to not only destroy your home and material possessions, but to also take lives as well. This single reason – the potential for loss of life – is why it is so important to not only learn how to prepare for summer storms before they happen, but also why it’s so important to learn a few hurricane preparedness tips if you live in a hurricane prone area.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane - Hurricanes are one of the most deadly and destructive forces on the planet. Keep your family safe with these simple hurricane preparedness tips.

It can be easy to ignore warnings about hurricanes but the truth is that doing so can cost you a price far higher than you will want to pay. These hurricane preparedness tips are designed to help you try and avoid that cost as easiest and as simply as possible. It takes so little time to put a few hurricane preparedness tips into practice that it simply doesn’t make sense to take the risk. It doesn’t mean you have to go full-on prepper with what you do, although if you did decide to do so that would be okay as well. It simply means that you care about your family and their safety enough to try and prepare for what may come.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Obviously, if you don’t live near a coast that is prone to hurricanes, these hurricane preparedness tips won’t apply to you. In that case, take a look at which weather events you do face and learn to prepare for them instead. Maybe it is extreme heat like we face here in the Southwest, maybe it is tornadoes, maybe it is extreme winter weather; preparing applies to more than once situation.

Build a 72-hour emergency bag –

The first of our hurricane preparedness tips is a simple one. Every single member of your family should have a 72-hour bag – yes, infants included. In adult bags, you’ll want duplicate copies of all identifying documents such as your drivers license and social security cards. It is also a good idea to have a spare debit card and at least $100 in cash in each adult bag as well. If you have children, each adult should also carry a certified copy of their birth certificates as well. Be sure to store these items in a waterproof pouch so they aren’t destroyed if your bag gets wet. In addition to the documents, be sure to pack snacks, water, spare clothing, socks and shoes and things to keep you occupied if you suddenly find yourself sitting someplace with no entertainment.

For kids or infant bags, changes of clothing, more snacks, water, diapers, wipes, special toys or blankets and anything else you may think you might need. If you are building an infant bag, you can save a bit of money on the supplies for it by requesting free baby samples. We keep a list of free baby samples HERE that is worth over $1,000.

The bags themselves don’t need to be super expensive. They only need to hold up to whatever you will need them to – in this case, a possible evacuation or time spent riding out the hurricane. If you’re just building a 72-hour bag, it is perfectly fine to start out with a school back pack. You can save money on these too by purchasing them during back to school sales.

Evacuate if and while you can – 

The great thing about hurricanes – if there is one – is that we almost always have plenty of notice that one is forming and where it is headed. This means one thing; you have no reason to stay in your home and ride the storm out if you don’t want to so our next point on our list of hurricane preparedness tips is to evacauate if and when you can. Unless you are under mandatory evacuations, the choice whether to leave or stay is yours, but in most cases, it will be better to simply leave. If you do decide to evacuate, make sure that you do so as early as possible. Waiting too long could mean getting stuck in traffic or worse when the storm hits.

If you don’t already have one, buying a GPS can be useful. Yes, you may have a phone that can navigate for you, but what happens if the battery dies or cell towers go down? Having a stand alone GPS unit that can plug into your car will make sure you know where you’re going.

The better option for you though is to pick up a simple road Atlas like THIS one. If you can’t read a map currently, learn how to. There are plenty of videos on Youtube that can show you how or you can buy a book such as THIS one to help teach you. Map and compass will always beat an electronic item in an emergency.

Have Emergency Water Stored on Hand –

The single most important of any hurricane preparedness tips I could give you is to make absolutely certain your family has enough water to last the storm. Water is more important to you than most people realize since a human being can only live 3 days (roughly) with no water. This means that you should do everything you can make sure you have not only water stored for drinking and bathing, but also water stored for cleaning. In fact, learning how to store emergency water for cleaning purposes only is almost as important as having water to drink. When storms blow in bacteria and shut down county and city systems, you need a way to keep your family from getting sick. Keeping things clean is the only way to really help do that.

For drinking water, plan on storing it in items like THESE 7-gallon water storage containers. They allow you to store enough water for your family without taking up a ton of space. In addition, buying a WaterBob like THIS one is useful too. It connects to your bathtub faucet and stores 100 gallons of clean, drinkable water.

Another option for emergency water is to pick up a few packages of mylar bagged emergency water like THIS. These are great for 72-hour bags and places that don’t have a lot of storage since they are compact in size and you can fit quite a few of them in a small area.

Ideally, you will want to store 1 gallon per person, per day for the amount of time you expect your water might be unsafe. This is just for drinking and cooking. You’ll need extra for bathing. If you have pets, you should try to store 1 ounce for each pound of body weight per day. In other words, a 14 lb dog would need approximately 14 oz of water per day.

If you can’t afford to buy water storage containers, you can fill your sink and tub or any plastic totes or containers you have at home. Just be sure to find something to lay across anything that will be open to protect your water from dust and potential debris that could get into it.

Prepare for Power Outages – 

With any severe storm, power outages are a real concern so the next tip on this list of hurricane preparedness tips is to be prepared for a power outage. When you’re putting hurricane preparedness tips into practice, a sustained power outage is the concern. Most outages only last a few hours, a day or two at most but with a hurricane, you could be looking at weeks without power if the storm is strong enough. There are a lot of different ways to prepare for a power outage like these 23 HERE, but if you’re on a strict budget or you don’t have a lot of time, you can get by with less.

The simplest way to prepare for power loss is by making sure you have a good, quality flashlight and plenty of batteries on hand. We keep several of THESE in our storage as well as THESE Amazon Basics batteries. If you have small children, you’ll want to consider making sure each of them has their own flashlight. Doing so will keep them from be quite as scared as sitting in the dark would make them. If you wanted, you could even buy a character flashlight like THESE for them so they feel even more at ease.

It can also be helpful to have emergency candles on hand. If you have enough time and the supplies, you can make homemade emergency candles (tutorial HERE) pretty easily. If not, or you simply don’t want to mess with it, THESE 100 hour emergency candles are a great option. Just be sure to keep them away from anything flammable, of course.

If you want to take your power outage preps to the next level, buy a generator like THIS one. Having a generator on hand will let you not only keep a light on, but also your fridge and freezer if you need.

Finally, having a solar battery charger like THIS one or a few battery banks such as THESE can be helpful for keeping your cell phone or tablets for your kids charged. No, the solar charger won’t work too well in the middle of the storm, but after it could be the difference between getting help if you need and not receiving it.

Stock up on shelf stable foods – 

Like we can only live approximately 3 days without food, we can also only live around 3 weeks without food whcih makes this next topic on this list of hurricane preparedness tips incredibly important. While you may not think that a hurricane could cause damage for 3 weeks or longer, take a look at the damage Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Katrina did. It was weeks and in some cases, months before things were back to normal for the folks affected by those storms. This means you should keep at least 3 weeks worth of food for your entire family in your hurricane preps.

You’ll want to keep in mind when you’re building a food stockpile that for emergencies, it is best to store foods that do not need to be cooked in order to be eaten. Foods like canned soups, granola bars, cheese crackers and tuna fish are all shelf stable and able to be eaten quickly without heat. If you do stock foods that require cooking, make sure you have a safe way to cook it. For our family, we keep both a portable charcoal grill (THIS is the one we have) and a propane camp stove such as THIS one for cooking during power outages. It allows us to have a bit more variety in what we can store in our stockpile so it was well worth the purchase.

If you aren’t sure about storing all store bought foods, learning how to can your own food can be a huge boost in your emergency preps. You can even take it one step farther and learn how to store food in mylar bags for long term storage. Canning isn’t hard as long as you follow a few canning safety tips and once you have a few good canning recipes on hand, you’re pretty well set for amazing, homemade foods that are shelf stable anytime you want during an emergency.

The other option for building an emergency food stockpile is to store freeze-dried foods. We like to use Valley Food Storage to get ours from. The foods are high quality and they are shelf stable for years. The can even be eaten right as they are, but if you prefer to cook them, they only require a little bit of water to cook.

Protect Your Home – 

Before I started giving you these hurricane preparedness tips, I told you to decide whether you were going to evacuate or not. Whether you decide to evacuate or not, your home will still be pummeled by the storm which means you should take the time to protect it as best as possible. If you’re int he direct path of a hurricane, try to board up your windows with plywood sheeting and heavy duty nailsIf you can’t afford plywood, use a roll of duct tape to try and strengthen the glass. You can do this by making an asterisk on the inside of your window with the tape. You’ll take the tape and do 1 strip up and down, 1 strip across, 1 strip left diagonally and 1 strip right diagonally. It won’t keep your windows from breaking, but it may help them to break cleaner instead into thousands of tiny shards.

You’ll also want to make sure that you take care of any loose items in your yard such as flower planters, trash cans, kids toys and so on. These items can be extremely dangerous when they’re being thrown around in the wind so it really is a safety issue. If you can’t bring them inside, bring them into the garage or at least use a chain and chain or tie them down.

If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, sandbags can be helpful. If you can’t find an easy source of sand to fill them, buying potting soil would be a great replacement. Fill each bag until it is packed tightly with potting soil and secure it. Use the bags in places of your home or yard that are prone to flooding to help keep water out.

If you have trees in your yard and are in an area that will see high sustained winds or strong gusts, you’ll want to make sure you trim off any dead or low hanging branches.If you find one that seems dead or that you think might come off easily, go ahead and cut it off. It is better to lose a branch than to have it come flying through a window after a hurricane hits.

Prepare for your children – 

Finally, the last of my hurricane preparedness tips is to make sure that you take your children into account. Kids crave normalcy and in a hurricane or any other emergency situation, things are far from normal. This can lead to meltdowns and scared children who act out because of that fear. To help keep things on the normal side, make sure that you have duplicates of any stuffed animals or blankets your child carries. If you have more than one, you won’t be super worried when they lose it. You’ll also want to pack a plastic tote with things such as coloring books and crayons, board games they like and maybe even a special “emergency only” toy.

Don’t forget to pack clothing for your kids too. Kids get dirty enough when it isn’t an emergency and they will get even dirtier during one. You don’t have to purchase new clothing for them. Instead, buy from Swap.com, Schoola.com or ThredUp.com and save yourself some money by buying used clothes instead.

 



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Stacy Ott

Stacy Ott is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family as well as The Genealogy Queen and a few others.By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

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