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Hurricane Warning - Hurricane Survival Checklist

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When a hurricane hits, anything can happen. Not only is there a danger from hurricane-force winds tearing off roofs, scattering debris like missiles, and shattering windows, there's also the danger of ocean waters flooding coastal towns and cities. Be prepared to evacuate if you're in a danger zone.
If you're caught in the hurricane's flood waters, there are a few key things you can do to survive. Refer to the checklist below.

When A Hurricane Warning is Issued

Once a hurricane warning is issued, look over your hurricane survival checklist. Make sure you're prepared in case this hurricane causes more damage and flooding than what you may have seen in the past.

1) Collect all emergency items for hurricane survival (flashlights, emergency radio, first aid, food, and water essential for surviving the hurricane) and store these in the safest interior room of your home -- the room least likely to be flattened by high winds -- it may even be a room in the rear of the home, on the lowest floor, that is facing away from the winds.

2) Using sheets of plywood (5/8 inch), board up all windows (that face the hurricane winds) several hours before the hurricane hits (for homes that don't have storm shutters).

3) Move all valuables from the wind-facing side of the home to the rear of the home and store if possible in a secure room or closet. This includes valuables on the top floor of a home where the possibility of losing all or part of the roof exists if hurricane winds are powerful enough to strike with that much destructive force.

4) Fill large coolers and horizontal freezers with block ice and prepare to use this block ice in both the refrigerator and freezer in your home in order to keep perishable food cold for as long as possible and extend its life in order to prevent food spoilage (should the power be out for several days).

5) Have several days worth of emergency food with extended shelf life (such as freeze-dried meals, canned food, and other pre-packaged food) for each person in your family. Also have several days worth of bottled water as well as the means to boil water should your power be knocked out. This may include simply a propane BBQ capable of boiling water, or simply a camping grill where you can make a small fire in your backyard (after the storm has passed) and boil water there.

Tips for Surviving Extended Power Outage and Flooding from Hurricane

1) Have a 1 month supply of emergency medication on hand -- for those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions requiring medication.

2) For people requiring electricity to power medical devices (such as those with sleep apnea who need CPAP equipment), consider battery packs (see link below) that have been pre-charged from either an AC outlet in your home or even your car's cigarette lighter (12 volt DC). If electricity is knocked out for several days (or in rare cases, weeks), you can simply start your car, and while it idles charge the battery pack.

3) At the first hint that there is going to be a hurricane -- several days in advance for example -- fill up the gas tanks in each vehicle you own. In addition, fill large fuel-approved containers with gasoline. This way if the electricity is out for several days, if you use all the gas in your car letting it idle so you can charge the battery pack (see link below), then you'll have more gas to put in your car, buying you more idle time. You could effectively have 1 - 2 months of battery power using the battery pack charged from your car lighter in this capacity.

4) Is your area in a flood zone -- even if you haven't had flooding before think carefully about that -- does the possibility exist for flooding to reach your home in a worst case scenario, as we've seen with Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012? If the answer is "yes", consider temporarily parking your vehicles up on a nearby hill, preferably on a road that leads out of the area, should you have to evacuate. With Hurricane Sandy a number of people have been unable to flee the sudden flood waters because their vehicles are partially under water and now won't start.

5) Before the storm hits, go around the neighborhood and knock on doors and introduce yourself. Take note of all the elderly, as well as families with children -- once your family is accounted for after the storm has passed go and check on the elderly and families with children to make sure that they're safe and not injured or under debris from the storm.

6) The possibility exists for a storm surge -- where ocean or even lake water is pushed up on to shore and there are is now flooding to deal with.

Have tall waterproof boots on hand for this, or even hip waders, should the chance exist for waste deep water. If you have seen flooding in the past then you can even prepare for the worst by having an inflatable raft and hand-powered air pump or simply a row boat (with oars, life vests and plenty of rope -- for tying the boat or raft to a tree, for example, should you not want to drift out to sea with a receding tide).

7) Any items that are outside the home that are in danger of being knocked over by the wind should be moved into the garage or simply behind the house and in a safe area away from the wind.

8) Reinforce your garage door so it can withstand hurricane strength winds.

9) Remember Hurricane Katrina and the massive floods that struck Australia a number of months back? Keep an axe in your attic, as well as a crowbar / prybar. If flood waters rise and you have to retreat upstairs with your family, use the axe and crowbar / prybar to break your way out and onto the roof, where you can wait for rescue. If you're fit and up for the challenge, keep an inflatable raft with oars and life vests upstairs, as well as essential survival supplies. If your area is under flood water for several days, you may want to make your escape by boat (again, only if you're fit and can handle this kind of escape).

10) Have evacuation plans laid out well in advance with friends and family from the neighborhood. Know where shelters are, have maps handy, and be ready to evacuate on foot should roads be impassable (or by raft, see above).

References:

How to Board Up Windows for a Hurricane

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