4 Ways to Stay Safe During a Hurricane

It’s the middle of hurricane season for many people, and Hawaii is no exception. We prepare every year with supplies and evacuation and contingency plans; fortunately, I have not experienced one while living here.

Hurricanes are a common fact of life in some areas of the U.S., with Florida the No. 1 target according to NOAA. It’s had more direct hits by these storms than any other, with 40 percent of all hurricanes in the country hitting the so-called Sunshine State.

Palm trees  blowing in wind

If buying a house among Oregon’s Portland real estate or any other spot that’s unlikely to get hit with this type of natural disaster, still be sure to take into account these ways for keeping you and your family safe.

Stock Up

One of the most important things you should do is to prepare ahead of time if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. If a storm is heading to your area, many staples like flashlights, batteries and water will sell out quickly. Instead of waiting until the last minute, get stocked up so that there’s no need to worry about battling a panicked crowd. You should also create a disaster kit that contains at least a gallon of water per person in your household for three days, food to keep you sustained for that same period, a first aid kit, backup chargers for cell phones, flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and any necessary medications. Store any valuable documents in a waterproof container.

Find a Safe Spot and Create an Evacuation Plan

Determine the safest spot in your home, where you can take shelter when/if emergency strikes. You’ll want to stay away from any glass doors, skylights or windows, such as an interior bathroom on a lower level or a closet. If it’s not safe to stay in your home and disaster is imminent, you’ll want to know where local emergency shelters are in your area and create an evacuation plan, including a place where everyone in your family can meet should you become separated.

Take Precautions When a Storm is Headed Your Way

When a storm is headed your way, secure your home by boarding up windows or using storm shutters. Be sure that items around the exterior of your home are secured such as lawn furniture, décor and garbage cans, and remove any debris from rain gutters. Fuel up all your vehicles as gas is one of the first things to run out just before a hurricane. If you have bathtubs, fill them up to hold water – you can line the tubs with plastic sheeting, and they’ll hold water for weeks. If your home is in an area prone to floods, place sandbags around the perimeter as well.

During the Storm

If the storm hits while you’re at home and flooding is a possibility, turn off the electricity at the main breaker. When power is lost, be sure to turn off all major appliances such as a water heater and air conditioner, and avoid using any electrical appliances, including laptops and other high-tech devices. Don’t go outside, even if it appears calm – when the eye of the storm passes over an area it’s preceded by a short period of calm, but the wind speeds will quickly increase to hurricane force. Fatalities often result due to flying debris.


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