Hurricane preparedness involves knowing the status of your home and property in advance of a hurricane, so you can protect your belongings. Hurricane preparedness is not only about being prepared but also about practicing good hurricane safety. Hurricane preparedness encompasses the careful planning and action taken prior to a hurricane to minimize damage and injury during the storm. Knowing the status of your home and property can help guide your actions in the days, weeks and months following a hurricane.

In preparation for a hurricane season, many homeowners begin developing a hurricane preparedness plan, often called a hazard and emergency plan. A disaster kit contains all the necessary items for surviving for six days or longer in the case of an emergency. Your disaster kit should include food and water; matches, candles, blankets, flashlights, toiletries, a radio, and any medications you may need. Other items may be required for a longer stay such as a portable stove, a bathroom, or toiletries. Do not forget your personal items such as cameras, prescription medicine, personal hygiene products, and money. You may need to rent some items to survive such as a mattress or carpeting.

Hurricane preparedness for an entire family includes making a basic list of everyone in the household and preparing emergency supplies based on the list. You may want to include a key person for emergency situations such as a child’s doctor or dentist, a spouse, or a family member. If one person in the family has a medical condition, such as asthma, you will need to have an inhaler or supply for an inhaler; if someone in the family has a heart or blood pressure condition, you will need a supply for a blood pressure kit. All these supplies should be stored in a well-organized emergency kit that includes extra supplies for cases of emergency such as changing an adult diaper, removing a catheter, or conducting a heart and blood pressure check. All of these supplies will be required in case of a disaster or a medical emergency.

Another item that goes into hurricane preparedness is having a list of items that are crucial to survival such as food and water. This list can be found in a tool kit or a dedicated disaster kit. A family disaster kit may include everything from baby formula to canned goods to replacement toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

The third item that needs to be included in hurricane preparedness is having a list of all shelters that you know of in your area or in the neighborhood. Knowing the shelter numbers for all the shelters that are accessible during a hurricane will help in terms of deciding where to go and how to get there. Having a list of shelters that are available or nearby will give family members an idea of how much supplies they will need to supply to their family. Knowing the number of each item will also help family members know if a specific item such as a cat or dog will be a necessity or if they can purchase a non-perishable item at the store.

One of the biggest concerns with hurricane and disaster preparation comes with the question of when to evacuate. When to evacuate depends on several factors, such as the proximity of water, wind and location. In most cases, the best time to evacuate is when the winds begin to pick up, the water begins to rise and the rain starts to pour. Many families opt to stay put and wait out the storm in order to avoid a long drawn out process of evacuating the premises.

A good way to prepare for hurricanes and other storms is to take steps ahead of time to prevent them. Do not buy a home before you are sure about the foundation, the roof, the electrical wiring and the structural integrity of the home. Get rid of things you do not need immediately such as old furniture and belongings and research the best way to properly dispose of waste so you are not saddled with it after the storm is over. You can also check with your local government to see what kind of zoning regulations and requirements you will have to abide by in order to prepare for a hurricane.

Hurricane preparation is essential in that you can be sure that no matter what happens, you will not be stuck outside without water, power or food for long periods of time. You may lose everything you own, but there is a chance of being able to rescue others and you want to make sure that you can do that. If you are unsure as to how you will evacuate and live in a damaged home, you should consult a professional to help you plan and prepare for the worst case scenario. Make sure you have emergency kits in your car and ensure you have contact information for family and friends in case you must abandon your home in a crisis.

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