By Sara Tipton
Tropical storm Cristobal is threatening Gulf communities and could grow to become a hurricane late this weekend. Those who live on the Gulf Coast and near where the storm is threatening are not taking any chances. One source in Houston, Texas is claiming that many area grocery stores are already selling out of grocery essentials such as water, toilet paper, baking goods, and cleaning supplies. This coincides with many of the items that disappeared during Hurricane Harvey, the last major hurricane that made landfall in Texas. Considering the already existing food shortages from COVID there could be more run on grocery stores for Gulf Coasters in the near future.
While this is only a tropical storm at the moment, hurricane season has started and weather experts predict another active season. Because the season is just brewing, it’s important to know how to prepare for hurricanes especially if you live where they are likely to affect you.
In The Prepper’s Blueprint, the importance of understanding how unpredictable hurricanes can be is discussed and emphasized. This type of natural disaster is truly one of the most difficult emergencies to prepare for simply because there are so many variables to account for. These storms can range from mild to severe and can cause wind damage, flooding, and tornadoes. You can be fully stocked with provisions, but what good will that do if your home is flooded in a matter of minutes and all of your supplies are destroyed or inaccessible?
Never Underestimate Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
You can never over prepare when it comes to hurricanes. Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, it was predicted as merely a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. In fact, many living in the area did not think much of it in terms of severity and only stocked up on supplies for a few days. Within those few days, it had developed into a Category 4 with 132 mph winds. This is one example of how things can change quickly and sometimes our backup plans need plans!
Here’s How To Start!
We’re going to walk you through an easy 5-step process on preparing for hurricanes. Before a plan it made, it is imperative to research and learn about the aftermath of hurricanes. When you are informed on what you are facing, you will be able to make better decisions on how to best prepare for your family and your home. As well, when you are researching, remember to plan for the immediate threats that hurricane victims must be aware of and be prepared to encounter in the storm’s aftermath.
This hurricane primer has essential articles with supply lists that can aid you in preparing for the uncertainties a storm. As well, consider reading 20 Hurricane Survival Tips From Real-Life Scenarios to learn firsthand what other preppers have done.
- Have a plan. Making a plan ahead of time will keep you organized and ensure that all of your needs and supplies are accounted for. This short-term emergency checklist is good for getting the necessary supplies in place. At a minimum, you should keep an emergency bag filled with supplies to last for 72-hours. This is good for peace of mind, as well as, in the case of having to evacuate on a moment’s notice. If you want a complete supply list to fully prepare, check out our 52-Weeks to Preparedness. If you are new to preparing for emergencies, you want o start with having multiple 72-hour bags packed for places where you spend most of your time: the home, vehicle and workplace. This ensures all of your bases are covered. Then, you can expand your supplies for a full week, then a month and longer if you wish. One of the best ways to get prepared is to start early before the masses rush the stores for supplies. There are a number of pre-season preparations that you will want to take into account long before any storm arises. It is imperative that you know all available evacuation routes in your area. The main roads and highways will likely suffer delays due to heavy traffic flow, so you will want to plan multiple alternative routes in order to ensure that you are not trapped in a flood while attempting to flee the storm.
- Get some supplies. You want to create a short-term emergency supply of not just food and water, but critical items that will disappear after a hurricane. (We all saw the shelves where toilet paper used to sit once the coronavirus was labeled a pandemic.) At a minimum, here are some hurricane supplies to start adding to your household:
- Food and alternative ways to cook food. If you do not want to invest in freeze-dried foods, look into stocking up on these 25 must-haves.
- Water – 1 gallon per person/per day for consuming only. Plan more for sanitary needs.
- Fuel for generators. Also, consider charcoal for outdoor grills
- Rechargeable batteries and battery charger
- Flashlights and lanterns
- Emergency lighting
- Medical supply
- Items for baby needs
- Sanitation supplies
If you already have some of the above items, it’s a good time to check all of your supplies to make sure you have what you need and are not lacking in certain areas. Moreover, consider having all members of the household brush up on essential skills and know some simple first aid and CPR. If medical issues arise in the aftermath of a hurricane, immediate medical care could be delayed.
3. Include your pets in your preparations! One of the reasons planning for emergencies before they occur is so important is that when panic sets in, you tend to forget the needs of others like their necessary prescription medicines or grabbing enough food for your pets. Learn more on pet preparedness.
4. Get supplies to protect your home. Having pre-cut boards and supplies prepped and on hand can save valuable time when you are under a hurricane threat. This checklist for preparing the exterior of the home should be printed out and put in an emergency binder for essential protocols to follow.
5. Plan for the worst-case – There are consequences to those who fail to prepare for disasters and are listed in detail in this article and should be read. Water contamination, infectious diseases, sanitation emergencies, and looting could all pose a problem for victims of hurricanes. While prepping for hurricanes at the last-minute can be a gamble, it is possible. Here are some tips for last-minute preparations for sheltering in place.
Preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm is multi-layered and often requires a well thought out plan. Because things can change so quickly, it’s very important to take your personal situation into account and prepare for even the unlikely scenarios. Make sure you’ve got a backup plan if you need one, and that that plan has a backup. Sometimes, no matter how well prepared we are, we have to change gears quickly to avoid a disaster.
This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition on June 4th, 2020