7 Hurricane Season Readiness Tips
By Space Coast Daily // November 8, 2020
Make Sure You Have a Fully-Functioning Hurricane Shelter
We’re at hurricane season 2020’s tail end. The Atlantic hurricane season usually goes from June 1st through November 30th.
Most people feel like they’re out of the woods this year or close to it. If you haven’t had any significant hurricane damage this year, you’re lucky. However, studies show that climate change is real, and if you live in a hurricane-prone area, it is never too early to begin getting ready for next year’s season.
There are plenty of hurricane preparedness steps you can take, and you’re responsible for doing so. Let’s go over a few of the things you can do for next year.
Make Sure You Have a Fully-Functioning Hurricane Shelter
If you want to prepare early for hurricane season, a huge part of that is making sure you have a shelter in place. This is a location where:
• You and your family can safely go if a hurricane hits
• You can stockpile supplies you might need
Many homes in the Atlantic-area hurricane corridor come with basements that you can use as shelters. You can definitely turn part of your basement into a hurricane safe room. You want a windowless box where you fortify the walls.
You can use plywood, which costs less than steel or concrete, the other options. If you have the skills to set this up yourself, you can do so. If you hire a contractor to do it, it will probably cost you about $3,000-6,000.
You can also build a stand-alone hurricane shelter in your backyard. They are usually steel panels you weld together like a box. You’ll have a steel door and bolt it to a concrete pad.
Again, you can build one yourself or hire a contractor. Stand-alone hurricane shelters generally cost a little less than building a safe room. You can often pay about $2,000 for a basic one.
You’ll want to make sure, as we approach next year’s hurricane season, that you have water for yourself and your family in your shelter.
You can purchase plastic water containers:
• From online retailers
• In brick-and-mortar stores
You can often save money on bulk water purchases if you get them somewhere like Sam’s Club or Costco. If you already have a membership, that’s ideal.
You want plenty of water for every family member, enough for at least seven days. That should be three 20-ounce bottles per person, per day. You can get the water many months in advance since it will not go bad.
Nonperishable Food Items
You should also load up your shelter with nonperishable food items for your family and yourself. Again, you want to think about how many of you there are, and you’ll want meals for all of you for at least seven days.
You’ll want to try to get items that everyone likes. You can speak to your family members about what specific food they’d like you to put in there.
This is not going to be gourmet food. You need functionality and basic nutrition, so you’re not going to have a shelter full of Belgian truffles and caviar.
Things like soups, stews, and beans make more sense. You don’t have to heat them if you don’t want to. You can consume them directly from the can at room temperature, if necessary.
They will also last a long time since they have high sodium content and preservatives that keep them fresh. Still, as next hurricane season approaches, make sure you check all of your food’s expiration dates. You can switch out anything you need to.
You should have medicine in your shelter. If you have high blood pressure, make sure that medication is in there. If your child has asthma, make sure they have an inhaler.
Much like the food, you want to check regularly to ensure that the medication you have in there has not passed the expiration date. If it has, switch it out.
You should also have a first aid kit in the shelter. It should have bandages, a splint, antiseptic ointment, etc.
Batteries, Radio, and Flashlights
You’ll want to have a radio in there so you can listen to emergency frequencies if there’s a hurricane. You want to have batteries in it, and you should have some spare batteries as well.
You should have a few flashlights, one for each family member who’s old enough to use one. You want spare batteries for those. You also might consider having a Coleman lantern or some other larger light sources.
Waterproof Important Document Container
You might consider getting some waterproof container variety into which you can put your critical papers if a hurricane approaches. You can replace many items, but replacing things like your passport, birth certificate, credit cards, driver’s license, insurance papers, etc. is not easy.
You might think about taking some spare cash and putting it in the container if you know there’s a hurricane approaching. If you have valuable family jewelry or other small heirlooms, you may put those in there as well.
Masks and Hand Sanitizer
The pandemic is still going on right now, and it probably will not have gone away by next year’s hurricane season. Because of this, you should also have facemasks and hand sanitizer for each family member in your shelter.
You might not need to have those things in there forever, but as long as Covid-19 is still out there, it’s best to have them for now. You may have rescue personnel interactions, and you want to have your mask on if you get close to them.
You can also look around your home when hurricane season approaches. You can see whether there are any tree branches near your windows that could come loose in a high wind. If you have any door or window damage, you should repair that.
Hurricanes are serious business, and you want to be ready if one comes your way. The sooner you start preparing your family and home, the better shape you will be in next year.