Hurricanes and tropical storms hit all areas near the Gulf coast and Atlantic ocean. You need to be prepared if you live in a susceptible area to survive a hurricane.
Defining a Hurricane
A hurricane is a tropical storm that can follow a path across the entire length of the barrier islands, coastal areas and eastern seaboard. It can cause high winds, torrential rains, storm surges and flooding over open water for up to 2 weeks or more. There are safety guidelines for hurricanes that FEMA has released.
Before a Hurricane
Consider constructing a safe room and secure your house. Protect your windows using permanent storm shutters or board them up with marine plywood. Also reinforce your roof to reduce damage by installing more clips or straps to securely fasten the roof to the frame structure. Invest in a Family Disaster Kit that is well stocked in case you lose power for several days. In case of flooding, protect items stored in the basement by elevating them, and clear clogged and loose rain gutters to avoid misdirected flooding. Trim shrubs and trees around your house and store water in large containers and in the bathtub to be used for cleaning and flushing toilets. Have some cash as ATMs may not work in case of power loss due to a hurricane. In case a hurricane is forecast to hit your area get more information about it from news updates and fill your vehicle tank.
During a Hurricane
Ensure that your home is secured by closing storm shutters and securing items that are outdoors such as lawn furniture or take them indoors as they can be destroyed or picked up by strong winds and cause injury. Turn off the electric and main house appliances. Also switch off propane tanks and only use the telephone in emergency situations. Follow the instructions of your local authorities and evacuate into shelters if told to do so. Evacuate if you live in mobile or temporary structures or in high rise buildings which are dangerous during hurricanes. Also evacuate if you live near a river, on the coast, on an inland waterway or on a floodplain. If not in a position to evacuate in a strong house, stay in your safe room. If you lack a safe room, stay in a closet, a small interior room, or the hallway on the lowest level. You can also lie on the floor under a table or another strong item. Keep away from glass doors and windows. Also secure external doors and close all interior doors while keeping blinds and curtains closed. If the eye of the storm has passed, stay inside the house as winds can pick up again and develop into a hurricane.
Recovering from a Hurricane
Recovering from a hurricane is a gradual process. Ensure that you are safe and take care of your physical and mental well-being. You can find more information on rebuilding and recovery on the FEMA Web site.