10 Things About Hurricane Preparedness they Forgot to Warn You About

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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.

Some Tips:

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?

Recommended Reading: Guide To Survival Water

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 an encrypted 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 one) but you could also have a general contractor do it too.

hurricane escape hatch in roof


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 make a plan on where you will go, and be ready to take action so you don’t get caught in the storm!

What other unusual hurricane preparedness tips can you add? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Good article overall. Living on the West coast of Florida for over 60 years, I am well aware of hurricanes and preparedness.

    Also, being owners of a small business, my wife and I have to think about securing the business and making sure our employees have time to prepare and/or evacuate. Since hurricanes can change course when you least expect it, we use a 72 to 24 hour plan. For both the business and home, if it looks like within 72 hours a hurricane may make landfall in our area, we start securing items that we will not be taking with us, as well as removing loose items from outside, so they do not blow away and possibly cause more damage/injury.

    48-36 hours: at work we start storing most of our inventory in 2 water tight shipping containers that are anchored to the floor inside of the facility. We also do a manual back-up of our file server, and store the external drive in water proof containers that will go with one of the officers if an evacuation is called for.

    At home we start pre-staging and pre-loading our bug out bags, food, water, and important documents (which are also copied to 2 separate thumb drives (one stored in our home safe, one in a water proof container that goes into my main bug out pack in our van. We also start boarding up part of the house.

    24-18 hours to land fall: at work the balance of inventory and key manufacturing equipment are put in the shipping containers. Other items are covered with tarps and tied down. The few windows in the office area are covered. Employees are sent home and we close up. At home, we finish boarding up the house, load last minute items in the van and get ready to leave.

    Most of the evacuation notices from the authority in charge comes at best 12-18 hours before landfall. This is NOT enough time to get everyone out of the low lying areas. We plan to leave at or before the 18 hour point. Part of our gear is a pop-up camper that takes all of 10 minutes or less to hook up, so we will have shelter regardless of the situation. We plan our route based on the expected track of the hurricane.

    For a couple in their 60’s, one with limited mobility, this approach makes it easier and less stressful to do what needs to be done. If the hurricane changes course away from us, and no or very limited damage is the result, at least we had a trial of our plan under more realistic conditions, and we can modify the plan as required. I should mention that the boards for covering the windows and doors at our house and business are all pre-cut, marked as to where it goes and stored on site. No fighting crowds at the home improvement store for lumber and other items.

    The only comment I would like to make is: in #9 in the article, regarding the escape route. If nothing else, the take away from Katrina is: if a hurricane is bearing down on your location…..LEAVE! You are NOT going to protect your home by staying. You are setting yourself up to drown while trying to do something that is impossible. In cases of flash floods along rivers, I agree you need the escape and inflatable boat. There is rarely enough warning. Overall, a good article. I have enjoyed your site, and have gained many ideas, and have applied some of the ideas to our preps.

    This is the first time I have replied to an article on your site. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing upcoming articles.


    • Hi Kevin – thanks for this fantastic comment. It is always great to hear from people who have real experience of these situations. There are some great tips in there for any other readers who are interested in hurricane preparedness.

  2. Watching Harvey this week. WHY do people wait til the hurricane is on its way to have things like the plywood for the windows?? Prepare, buy ahead of time, put under full-king sized beds, or in a safe place in the garage. Practice how you will hang it. How hard is that??
    My son was smart enough to already have a camp stove, so far they have not had to use it. but its there. They are newlyweds and live in an apt. But I think he is better prepared than some.
    I did Good.

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