Hurricane Safety Preparation

Here is a list of hurricane safety preparations that should be observed before one occurs in your area.

Surviving a hurricane with the least amount of damage is a matter of planning. There are many tasks before, during, and after a hurricane that can help protect you and your property.

Hurricanes are a double-edged threat to your home. The damage from hurricanes can come from both wind and water. Typically, warnings can precede a hurricane by days. This gives you much-needed time to prepare.

Hurricanes are severe tropical storms with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. Hurricane winds can reach 160 miles per hour and extend inland for hundreds of miles.

The following definitions are used by the National Weather Bureau:

Tropical Storm Watch: This is usually issued within 72 hours of possible landfall. Meteorologists are unable to predict the exact path of the storm.

Hurricane Watch: This indicates a hurricane is possible within 24 to 36 hours. Stay tuned for additional advisories. Tune to local radio and television stations for additional information. An evacuation may be necessary.

Hurricane Warning: This indicates a hurricane will hit land within 24 hours. Take precautions at once. If so advised, evacuate the area immediately.

When the National Weather Bureau declares a hurricane watch, you should start moving any mobile items inside. These might include trash cans, chaise lounges, tables, chairs, plants, umbrellas, and patio furniture. This is also the time to make sure you have an ample supply of duct tape and masonite sections cut to window sizes. Other useful supplies are 2 by 4 bracing, caulking, sandbags, waterproof flashlights and candles with holders and wind guards.

If time permits, secure all of your valuables. Dry goods should be removed from low-lying storage areas. Store anything that can be ruined by water on a higher floor or to your highest available shelves. During a power failure, keep all doors to refrigerators and freezers shut.

Here are some tasks that will help you protect your valuables before the storm hits:



1. Backup computer files, preferable to an off-site source away from the hurricane. There are many sites available through the World Wide Web that will back up files for you.

2. Unplug computer equipment and wrap it in plastic.

3. Store computer equipment on desks or tables to protect them from flooding

4. Unplug appliances such as coffee machines, microwaves, toasters, etc.

5. Unplug any other electrical equipment.

6. Cover furniture with plastic.

7. Place photos and valuable paperwork in a waterproof safe

8. Remove and store all awnings, potted plants, waste cans, doormats, flags, or lawn ornaments that might become an airborne projectile.

9. Tape any windows which do not have sun-filter film. Protect windows with metal shutters or plywood.

10. Move all furniture, table lamps, etc. away from windows.

11. Roll up carpets and stuff towels or sandbags in door thresholds.

12. Turn off all HVAC equipment to prevent blown circuits and burned out compressors when power is restored.

13. Make sure you have enough food in the house that doesn't require cooking or refrigeration.

14. Take precautions to protect your water pump.

When the National Weather Bureau announces that there are only a few hours left before the hurricane hits, start securing your home. Use duct tape to prevent seepage around doors. Place masonite sections over other windows and use 2 by 4 braces to secure any shutters. Caulk solid doors at ground level and be prepared to caulk windows that develop leaks. Put sandbags in place and make temporary repair-lumber accessible.

Once it is inevitable that a hurricane is going to strike, move to a safe area in your home (unless you have been ordered to evacuate). The safest place is often hallways in the center of your home. Try to have available an ample supply of blankets, pillows, and candles.

After the storm, immediately assess the damage and determine what can be saved. Determine the status of your utilities and telephone and when service will be restored if it has failed. Photograph or videotape any damage for the insurance adjusters.

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