In this concise blog, I will talk about what you should do to prepare to shelter in place and what you should do to prepare to evacuate a hurricane zone.
First things first, prepare now. The longer you wait, the less supplies are available. Stock up on things you'll need including food, water, prescription medicine, pet food (don't forget to include pets in your plan!), power supplies, and other goods.
Shelter in Place
If an evacuation order has not been issued and you are sheltering in place, the best thing you can do is prepare you and your home to weather the storm.
> Preparing your Home for Shelter in Place
Insurance: This may seem obvious, but go over your insurance policy to ensure it is up-to-date and that all of your possessions are covered.
Cleaning: Experts recommend that you clear all debris (leaves, dirt piles, potted plants) away from the house. Anything that can clog drains and stop water from being removed should be discarded prior to the storm.
Items that can float away (like kid's toys) or become damaged by rising water (like a BBQ Grill) should be moved inside or to an upper area (like a second story deck).
Take inventory: Photograph the contents of your home; room by room, and floor by floor. This will be valuable if your house becomes damaged and you need a record of what's missing.
Batten down the hatches: Take a look around your home to see what may become airborne or damaged if hit with high winds or flood waters. Seal all cracks and openings including around doors and windows. Reinforce all doors and windows to protect them against flying debris - Be sure that you don't block escape routes during an emergency!
Power Up: How are you going to keep your phone charged? Tablets and laptops are a great way to watch movies and keep occupied. Need a CPAP machine to sleep? Make sure you have plenty of power to keep your things charged.
Keep extra batteries on hand for your flashlights, or better yet, use rechargeable flashlights like our Wayfinder. Our Lithium Cube portable power supplies are ideal for keeping your devices charged and your appliances powered.
The Validity of Multi-Purpose: Many things can have dual-purposes or offer multiple uses in a single item. Our Solar Floodlights are dual-purpose as they are stormproof and work independently of the power grid. If your neighborhood power is shut-off, our Solar Lights still work. During normal and storm conditions they add safety and security around your property.
Another such item is our multi-purpose power supplies like the Michelin XR1 and the Power Dome PLEX. These units feature AC & DC Power, Air compressor, jump starter, and a radio. In emergencies, these devices can literally be a lifesaver.
Short List of needs for Sheltering in Place (be sure to include all members of your household including pets):
- Radio (preferably with NOAA capabilities)
- First Aid Kit
- Power Supply / Batteries
- Prescription Medicine
- Board/Card Games
Preparing for an Evacuation
>Prepare your Family
Have a plan: What do you do if the kids are at school and you are at work when the storm hits? Make sure the elderly and kids have the phone numbers and ways to contact people. Just like you learned in other emergency preparedness plans, have a central and a back-up meeting location planned out in case you're unable to make it home.
Go-Bag for each person: A "Go-Bag" is a backpack that has all of your important stuff that you can grab and go in a moment's notice. For adults they'll usually include food, water bottle, prescription medicine, basic first aid, identification (including a passport), toiletries, spare pair of prescription glasses, change of clothes, flashlight, cash money (credit cards may not be accepted) and other essentials.
Each child should have a go-bag too: make sure it is light and includes their favorite toy, snacks, water, comfort items, and a change of clothes.
Mental preparedness: It is also a good idea to mentally prepare for having to leave your home. Nobody wants to scramble at the last minute trying to find their precious things to take with them. Talk with your family about what an evacuation means and what their roles are.
Know your route: What is the fastest way out of town, where is higher ground? Where is the nearest storm shelter? These are things you should consider when planning a route away from your home. You may not have an option of which way to go, but familiarize yourself with surrounding areas and know where the areas with depressions are (where flood waters will first settle) so that you may avoid them.
> Preparing your Home for Evacuation
Bracing for impact: With high winds swirling around outside, windows and doors can become damaged leaving the interior of your home to the elements. Learn how to properly brace all windows and doors (including your garage door!) to avoid damage to your home. Don't forget to close all interior doors as well.
Spring Cleaning: Now is a good time to clean up garbage in your home. The stack of newspapers in the garage, the overflowing garbage can outside - get rid of excess stuff that will make more work for you and get in the way if the storm damages your home.
Power Down: Experts recommend turning off the power, gas, and water to your house to avoid fires in the event of damaged power lines or compromised internal wiring/plumbing.
Power Up: Now that you've left your home, how are you going to keep your phone and tablet charged? How are you going to power your laptop? If you've planned ahead, you'll have a PPS (Portable Power Supply) like our Lithium Cubes that can handle your power needs.
> Preparing your Vehicle
Ready to go: Make sure your car is road ready meaning that it is full of gas, tires are properly inflated, windshield washer fluid and coolant are topped-off, and that you have a Vehicle Supply Kit ready.
Vehicle Supply Kit: It should come as no surprise that when an evacuation order is issued, there are thousands of people leaving at the same time; clogging the roadways and freeways leading to extremely slow movement. To prepare for this, have food, water, games (like playing cards and simple board games made for vehicle travel), and bathroom provisions available in your car.
Short List of Vehicle Supply Kit Contents (include items for all people in your party):
- Safety Flares
- Board/Car Games
- Plastic Bags
- Folding/Portable Toilet
- First Aid Kit
- Tire Repair Kit/Tools
- Jump Starter / Multi-Purpose Power Supply
- Never drive through flooded areas.
- Listen to the TV or Radio for important updates.
- Stay inside and away from windows if a shelter in place is ordered.
- Be ready to evacuate before an evacuation order is placed.
- Play games and talk to keep mentally calm. Keep the atmosphere light.
- Stay hydrated, well-rested, and eat small portions regularly to have the energy to move when needed.
- If the area is flooded, do not drink water from the tap unless instructed safe to do so. When water-levels rise, it often compromises the city's clean water supply.
- According to the CDC, "A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start."
- "A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm."