Storm season is on the horizon, which means it’s once again time to get ready. Recent storms have been some of the worst in decades, so more than ever it’s important to really get ahead on your storm season preparations. Once the storm hits, your time to prepare has run out. So we’ve found some of the best things to get done long before the first raindrop falls. Take a look at these 5 ways to prepare for a hurricane, and don’t delay getting started.
1. Get in the habit of securing your home and car
Your home is probably the hardest thing to get situated for a big storm, but there are a lot of little things you should have a plan for before the storm hits. Some of these you can even do way in advance. First, secure the area around your home. Shutter your windows, trim large trees, and bring your patio furniture inside, or your neighbor down the block will be enjoying some new lawn chairs when the wind blows! This goes for your car too. Find a parking spot that’s on high, clear ground. You don’t want a tree falling on your car when you need it to evacuate in a hurry.
Once your outside is secure, head inside. Take art off the walls. Make sure shelves are secured. Find the room you’d be safest sheltering in. Typically the safest room in a house during a hurricane is a bathroom, but it should definitely be somewhere on the ground floor with no windows.
2. Store important documents somewhere safe
There are countless stories of priceless family photos being lost during storms. When You have to decide between your family and photos, the answer is simple, but it’s not a decision you should have to make. Before the storm ever gets close, store your family photos and important documents somewhere safe and weatherproof. Some weather-proof lock boxes aren’t that expensive. It’s important to find one that’s waterproof, shock-resistant, and as fireproof as possible.
Get a weather-proof lock box in advance. Store your photos, tax documents, passport, birth certificate, and anything else that would be difficult to replace. Even if you’re not worried about needing a new birth certificate, if even one third of the people around you lost theirs too, there’s going to be a long backlog while you wait. If you have time and your photos and documents aren’t too frail, it can also be a great idea to have them scanned and uploaded to a cloud storage.
3. Know where to go during and after the storm
You don’t want to sit through a storm wondering if the people you love are safe. Make a plan with your friends and family so you know where everyone will be during the storm. That means where they’ll shelter first, where you all might have to go, and where you can meet up after. Stay connected to local news and NOAA radio to get live storm updates and act according to your plan.
Your local news and evacuation authority will broadcast evacuation orders if there are any. If they tell you it’s time to go, make sure to listen. You don’t want to be a straggler when the storm surge hits. Even if you feel your location is secure, you don’t want to waste rescue efforts because you decided not to move and meet up with friends at another location.
4. Prepare a go bag
Whether you’re displaced from your home or are stuck without power or water, it’s essential to have a bag ready that has some basics you need to survive. Among those are non-perishable food, bottled water, medicine, utility supplies, and essential electronics.
The food you pack should be dry and take almost no effort to prepare. Trail mix, canned foods, protein bars, things that take up little space but provide a lot of energy. For water, the general recommendation is one gallon a day for every person. You don’t know how long you might need to be self-sufficient, so keep a few gallons of water on hand. It took days to get water to the Superdome during Katrina, so be prepared to wait.
The medicine you pack should be both for general first aid, painkillers, bandages, sanitizing wipes and spray, and your own prescription medications. There’s no telling how long it could be before you can make a trip back to the pharmacy.
The last thing to pack is a set of general-use tools that are good for a variety of situations. A multitool like a Leatherman, a flashlight, and a lighter are all excellent to have on hand. You should also pack a compass in case digital directions fail, a radio to stay connected, a mask, and flares. If you packed canned food, it would also be unfortunate to be caught without a can opener.
5. Plan what to do if you don’t have electricity
Even after the storm moves on, it can be weeks before your home has power again. If you don’t want to go that long without modern amenities like your phone or a hotplate for cooking, you’ll need your own generator. The problem is that many generators are gas-powered, and gas is a commodity after a storm. What you’ll want instead is something like the Generark Solar Generator: HomePower ONE + SolarPower ONE.
This solar-powered generator can hold up to 1,002Wh, enough for seven days of power on a single charge. It comes with 3 AC outlets that support 1,000W rated power and 2,000W surge power at 110V. For a camper with this generator, that meant powering their “cooler, 24 led lights, coffee maker, toaster, cell phones, fan, and a laptop. Only needed solar panels twice, out of nine days.”
If you’re stuck at home without power, a generator like this can make a huge difference. You can clean water by boiling it with an electric kettle, cook food with a hot plate, and charge your phone to call your family and tell them to come find you. And if the battery gets low, the portable solar panel is easy to set up and has a 200W output. If you’re looking for one thing to buy in preparation for storm season, this solar-powered generator is only $1399 (Reg. $1897), and it could make all the difference.
Prices subject to change.