How to Prepare for a Hurricane – Safety Tips & More

Hurricane Irene 2011

Hurricane Irene gathering strength.

With Hurricane Irene expected to hit New England this weekend, residents are already scrambling to be ready for the storm. And that includes Governor Patrick, who has activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency ahead of Irene’s arrival.

Not sure how to prepare for a hurricane? Read on for safety tips so that your family is safer and better equipped to ride out what could be one of the biggest storms in recent MA history.

The Essentials

First things first – make sure you have necessities like food and water. Here’s a quick list of some essentials that every family and household ought to have ready:

  • Non-perishable food – Canned goods & other food that will remain edible even if the power’s gone for a couple of days
  • Water – Floods can disrupt plumbing & make tap water unsafe, so make sure you have bottled water to drink
  • Flashlights – Keep at least a few handy
  • Batteries – Relying on flashlights can drain batteries quickly, so make sure you have plenty of extras
  • Cash – Get to an ATM before the storm knocks out the power so you have extra funds

One gallon of water per person per day is a good amount of water to store, according to Ready.gov. The same government site also suggests a battery-powered radio to stay apprised of any emergency developments, but that’s not as important as the items listed above. And don’t forget about your pets! Make sure it has enough food and water, too.

Ideally, you will have stocked up on these items well in advance, since there is a strong likelihood that stores will be sold out a day or two before the storm hits.

Preparing Your Home

Now that you and your family have the vital supplies needed to ride out a hurricane for a couple of days, it’s important to make sure your home will remain as secure as possible. Here are a few simple ways you can prevent damage:

  • Clear Driveway, Deck & Patio - Bring inside any garbage cans, lawn furniture, deck chairs, etc that may be blown around
  • Secure Windows – Close shutters & apply duct tape to your windows to prevent cracks
  • Propane – Turn off propane tanks if you have them & be sure BBQ tanks are securely inside

One way to keep your toilet operating even if the water is shut off is to fill your bathtub with water prior to the hurricane’s arrival. Keep a bucket next to it, so that you can refill the toilet tank after every flush.

These are simply, easy steps that you can take to make it through a hurricane a little bit more easily. For really intense, dangerous storms, however, it’s best to simply evacuate to a safer zone.

For more information on preparedness, visit Ready.gov. And for information on Irene, check the National Hurricane Center or Stormpulse.com. With any luck, all of us here in Massachusetts will get through Irene without too much trouble. But still - stay safe and be careful this weekend!

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