All too often people react to the news of natural disasters with “that’s horrible, but thank goodness it’ll never happen to me.” Not only is that idea wrong, but it could be dangerous if that mentality stops you from preparing. In recent history, Americans have seen the destruction of hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy first-hand, but still many people wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a hurricane—they think it won’t happen to them.
In reality, hurricanes can be a major issue for people all along the east coast of the U.S., even as far north as Maine and hurricanes have also been an issue for people in the south, as far west as California. It’s imperative that everyone along the east coast and south be prepared. Here’s what you need to know to survive a hurricane.
What You Can Do Now
Make a Plan
Create a plan now, not when the hurricane warning is issued. Know the evacuation routes in the area, have a plan for getting in touch with family members and figure out a place to stay in the event of an emergency.
Build an Emergency Kit
A good idea for any emergency situation, you should build a kit with the essentials—flashlights, first aid supplies, a radio, cash, water and important documents.
Trim Your Trees
The intense winds can bring down branches and entire trees, so be sure to trim trees and remove any hanging limbs.
What to Do Before the Hurricane
Review the Plan
Revisit the plan you made and go over it with everyone in your family to make sure everyone knows what to do.
When officials give the order to evacuate, it’s time to leave.
Secure Your Home and Yard
Whether or not you plan on staying in your home through the storm, you should take steps to secure your home to minimize damage. Take in lawn furniture and anything else that might blow away in a storm and fortify windows, doors and garage doors.
Turn on the TV or radio and listen in for official watches, warnings and evacuation orders.
During the Hurricane
Get to a Room with No Windows
Windows can shatter causing injury, so it’s important to get as far away as possible.
Pets should be secure in carriers or crates, as storms can cause them to panic.
After the Hurricane
Even after you think the storm is over you should stay inside until officials say it’s clear. In a hurricane, the eye of the storm can make it seem like the storm is over when it’s not.
Be Careful During Clean-Up
Many people injure themselves in the aftermath of a hurricane. From downed electrical wires to roof repairs, the clean-up can be even more dangerous than the storm itself.