August 31, 2005

Hurricane Survival Guide

Hurricane Season 2005 is far from over folks, and at least one meteorologist expects that the remaining storms this season will begin working their way from the Gulf States towards the East Coast. Forewarned is forearmed.

WARNING: This is not comprehensive hurricane survival guide. I've only been through a few, and hardly consider myself an expert. Anyone who claims to be able to tell you everything you need to do to survive in every situation is lying. Adjust accordingly to your circumstances, but remember the only way to beat a hurricane is to not be there when it arrives.

Before the Storm: General

  • Listen to the radio, watch television news, or read online news sources to keep abreast of developing tropical systems. Keep close track of storms that may head in your general direction. Don't be caught flat-footed.
  • Know the hurricane evacuation routes for your area. By a state map or better yet, an atlas that can provide you with parallel routes away from an impending storm.
  • Make sure any vital medical prescriptions are filled in advance of an impending storm.
  • Make hotel reservations several days in advance "just in case." Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Before the Storm: Around the House

  • Secure any outside objects. Bikes, toys, plants and other outdoor items can be carried away by wind and water, often at unpleasant velocities.
  • Board up your windows if possible, or tape them with duct tape in an asterisk pattern (*) if that is your only option. This serves to reinforce the glass.

Before the Storm: Transportation

  • Fill your gas tank several days in advance, and keep it topped off.
  • Check your vehicle's fluids, and belts, making sure to top off your windshield washer fluid and coolants.
  • Make sure your tires are in good shape, and make sure your spare tire is inflated.
  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread. See manufacturers guidelines.

Before the Storm: Personal

  • Create a "bug-out bag."
      This is an emergency evacuation bag of bare essentials you make need in an emergency. In this bag (preferably a backpack) include:
    1. a small battery-operated AM/FM radio. fresh batteries for same.
    2. two waterproof flashlights and/or battery operated lanterns. fresh batteries for same.
    3. cell phone (and charger).
    4. disposable lighter and waterproof matches.
    5. personal toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, and other personal hygiene products as applicable.
    6. a first aid kit with painkillers, bandages and band aids.
    7. duct tape (min. 2 rolls)
    8. sturdy pocket knife
    9. hammer & prybar
    10. box of 8D nails
    11. blankets (multiple)
    12. clothes
    13. socks
    14. raingear
    15. boots
    16. enough non-perishable, ready-to-eat food and water (1 gallon per person per day) for three days.
    17. last but not least, all insurance information, property, vehicle, life, and medical.

  • create a contacts list. Include a I.C.E. "in case of emergency" number.
  • put an I.C.E. notification with your ID and store it in your cell phone.

Before the Storm: Evacuation

  • pack bug-out bag, and supplies including food and water into vehicle.
  • make one last check to make sure outdoor items are secured.
  • cut off all electrical switches, appliances, televisions, lights, etc.
  • before you leave contact your I.C.E. person and let them know where you are going.
  • make sure all windows are closed tightly and locked.
  • lock all doors.
  • leave.
  • anticipate high winds and driving rain. Stay calm, drive slowly. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Beware of standing water.
  • Call your I.C.E. contact when you arrive safely.

During the Storm
Moving away from the hurricane will most likely reduce the effects of a hurricane, but it cannot eliminate risks entirely, even hundred of miles inland.

  • Duct tape windows in asterisk or "star" pattern (*). stay away from windows. draw blinds and curtains, if possible, to contain glass in the event of a break.
  • stay inside, away from windows and doors especially during the eye of the storm. winds restart again quickly with extreme velocities as the eyes passes and the wind shifts 180 degrees.
  • stay near interior walls. If the winds are very strong move into an interior bathroom where the building is likely to be strongest.
  • do not leave unless flooding is imminent or you are instructed to do so by authorities.

After the Storm

  • stay off the road and away from affected areas until authorities clear the area for your return.
  • watch for downed power lines and other debris in roads.
  • be very careful of standing pools of water and especially flowing water.
  • watch for displaced wildlife. poisonous snakes, fireants, and abandoned pets. all can present hazards.
  • watch for dangerous debris (wear boots).
  • lookout for injured people and animals. Call authorities if possible.
  • do not become a tourist. go home, and stay home.
  • secure your property. take stock of any damage. Catalog for insurance purposes.

Again, this list is hardly comprehensive, and cannot anticipate special needs or unexpected situations such as those extraordinary circumstances currently facing those that have been hit by Hurricane Katrina. It is however, a start.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 31, 2005 11:45 PM | TrackBack

Being an inland survivor of Hugo in 1989 and experiencing winds of 105mph, with 7 days of no power and no shower, I can say that a person might do anything after a while. If the whole area were without power as on the Gulf, one just might kill somebody over nothing. Our luxuries are immense & not readily given up, whether you are rich, middle class or poor.

BTW, One thing you left off your list: plenty of drinkable alcohol, beer preferably, and ice.

Posted by: Southern(USA)whiteboy at September 1, 2005 06:52 PM