By now most people who live in hurricane zones know that they need to have a supply of emergency water and food stockpiled (whether they actually stockpile this is another matter). However, when talking about hurricane preparedness, a lot of essentials get completely overlooked.
Here are the hurricane preparedness tips that you absolutely must know, but they probably forgot to warn you about!
1. There Will Be S*it Everywhere
Hurricanes bring flooding. Flooding means water treatment centers overflow. That means SEWAGE overflows into the streets.
Sewage isn’t just disgusting. It is dangerous. The dirty flood water brings about bacterial, viral, parasitic, and mold-related diseases. The flood water can also lead to vector-borne diseases from mosquitos.
- Have enough supplies stockpiled so you don’t have to leave your home until the sewage recedes.
- Get a sump pump for your basement to prevent sewage flooding, and a battery backup for it. Read this article about getting your sump pump ready for a hurricane.
- Have an emergency bucket toilet ready.
- GET WATERPROOF WADERS! If you have to walk through flood water, at least you won’t be directly in contact with the raw sewage floating there.
2. You’ll Need Tools and Wood in with Your Hurricane Supplies
You are supposed to board up your windows during a hurricane to prevent them from breaking. So, obviously, you should have the means to board them up!
Don’t make the mistake of keeping your tools and wood somewhere inaccessible during the hurricane. Likewise, don’t wait too long to board up those windows. Yeah, the nails might damage your walls – but it is better than dealing with broken glass and rainwater all throughout your home.
3. You’ll Need More Water than You Think
The CDC recommends keeping at least a 3 day supply of emergency water. FEMA and the Red Cross recommend a 2 week supply of water. They say you will need 1 gallon per person, per day. That adds up to 14 gallons per person.
14 gallons of water is NOT going to be enough for most people!
I recommend that you try doing a “No Running Water” drill to see how much water you actually go through. Since most of us aren’t used to going without water, we end up using a LOT of water for simple tasks like washing our hands or cooking.
Even if you are good at conserving water, it is still better to aim for a 30 day supply of emergency water. This will keep you covered in case the hurricane aftermath is particularly bad. After all, do you really want to stand in line with the masses for water handouts from FEMA?
4. Have a Communication Plan, Because Your Cell Phones Probably Won’t Be Working
During emergencies like natural disasters, people call their loved ones. This results in a “mass call event.” The cell phone networks aren’t able to handle the overload and calls can’t get through.
That is assuming that the cell networks are even working. A major disaster could put the networks down completely.
Make sure you have a way of communicating with your loved ones in case the hurricane strikes when you aren’t at home. Here’s an article on How to Make a Family Emergency Communication Plan.
5. Keep Cash, Because ATMS Will Be Down
In a major SHTF disaster, cash would quickly become worthless. But this isn’t the case with hurricanes. Money still reigns supreme after a hurricane and people charge insane amounts of money for things like water, food, batteries, and other supplies.
Hopefully you’ve done a good job of prepping for the hurricane so you don’t need to buy anything. However, have some cash at home anyway. You might need it to evacuate, and the ATMs will likely have already been emptied.
6. Don’t Use Candles!
Candles might seem like a good off grid lighting option for when the power goes out during a hurricane, but using an open flame for light is a really bad idea.
Instead, get yourself some good emergency flashlights (preferably waterproof ones). Headlamps are also really great as they free up your hands. Try going to the bathroom in the dark while holding a flashlight and you’ll understand why! If you must use candles, then follow these hurricane candle safety tips.
7. Backup Your Documents
This is one of the most commonly-forgotten parts of disaster planning! You absolutely must have copies of your vital documents ready.
One option is to put copies of your documents on a USB drive. But this won’t be worth crap if the USB drive ends up in a flood of dirty hurricane water. So, it is better to keep documents in a waterproof safe and/or keep copies on the cloud.
8. Get Matching Outfits for Your Family
This isn’t so you will look cute together. Rather, if you must evacuate, those matching outfits will make it easier for you all to stay together amongst the crowds. Opt for bright colors, like bright red matching raincoats or lime green baseball caps.
9. Keep an Axe and Lifeboat on the Upper Floor of Your Home
In the Primal Survivor Facebook group, a woman recently told me a story that emphasizes how important this is.
A friend’s husband marked in chalk on the ceiling where to cut through the roof in case they needed to evacuate. Everyone said he was paranoid and nuts.
Then Hurricane Katrina happened.
If it hadn’t been for his chalk marks, they both would have drowned in their own home! The lesson is that you need to have a way to escape onto your roof.
So keep an axe and inflatable lifeboat on the upper floor of your home. You might also consider installing a hurricane escape hatch. There are a few companies which manufacture and install them (like this company) but you could also have a general contractor do it too.
10. Have Your Bug Out Bag Packed and Be Ready to GO!
If there is one major lesson we can learn from past hurricanes and disasters, it is this:
Don’t Wait Until the Authorities Tell You To Evacuate!
By then, it might be too late. The roads will be crowded, and the danger may be already too close. So pack a Bug Out Bag, make a plan on where you will go, and be ready to take action so you don’t get caught in the storm!