What Is a Hurricane?
Hurricanes are powerful storms that can cause significant damage to homes, infrastructure, and pose serious risks to human life. Being well-prepared and knowing how to stay safe during a hurricane is crucial for anyone living in or visiting areas prone to these storms.
Hurricanes form at sea in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean. They can grow rapidly into enormous storms, sometimes hundreds of miles wide and can affect large areas at the same time. You are especially at risk from hurricanes if you live in South Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, eastern New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Hurricanes can also reach inland of these states causing torrential rain, flooding, damaging wind, and even tornados. Official hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th.
Stay updated with the latest information from reliable sources such as the National Hurricane Center, local emergency management agencies, and news outlets. Pay attention to hurricane watches and warnings issued for your area. Understand the difference between a hurricane watch in your area (hurricane conditions are possible) and a hurricane warning (hurricane conditions are expected).
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Create an emergency kit well in advance of any hurricane threats and make sure you have enough food and water to last for five days. Be aware that your tap water may be contaminated after a hurricane and that if a hurricane watch or warning is issued, the shelves of stores may empty quickly of water, food and other crucial supplies. For more information on emergency kits, visit this Settle In Help Center link: https://www.settlein.support/hc/en-us/articles/10905687945885
Secure Your Property
Take precautions to protect your home from potential damage. Trim trees and shrubs, secure loose outdoor items, and reinforce doors and windows. Secure or bring indoors garbage cans, outdoor furniture, grills, or any equipment that could become dangerous projectiles in strong winds.
Evacuate When You Are Advised
If authorities issue evacuation orders for your area, take them seriously and evacuate promptly. Know in advance, and follow designated evacuation routes. Have a pre-planned destination in mind, such as a friend's or relative's house, a hotel, or a designated shelter. Leave early to avoid heavy traffic and potential hazards. Remember, it is always better be cautious when it comes to your safety.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
Develop a family emergency plan and ensure everyone in your household understands it. Establish a meeting point in case you get separated. Assign responsibilities to each family member, such as gathering important documents, packing the emergency kit, or caring for pets. Share your plan with relatives or friends outside the affected area so they can stay updated on your whereabouts.
Stay Safe During the Storm
If you are unable to evacuate, take necessary precautions:
- Stay indoors away from windows and glass.
- Keep curtains, shutters or shades closed during the storm to protect against breaking window glass.
- Seek shelter in a small, windowless, interior room on the lowest level of your home.
- Monitor weather updates and emergency alerts.
- Keep your emergency kit and a supply of fresh water easily accessible.
- Use flashlights for lighting rather than candles, as they pose a fire risk.
- Avoid using electrical appliances and corded phones during the storm.
- Stay tuned to local authorities for updates and instructions.
After the Storm
Even after the hurricane has passed, it's important to remain cautious and follow safety guidelines. Stay away from flooded areas, downed power lines, and debris. Be aware of potential hazards, such as weakened building structures or contaminated water. Assess your surroundings and follow the directions of emergency officials.