Now that tropical storm “Isaac” has reentered the Gulf of Mexico and many are speculating about it next move, it is not the time to forget about the remainder of hurricane season.
Here is a list of the many things to consider before, during and after a hurricane. Some of the safety rules will make things easier for you during a hurricane. All are important and could help save your life and the lives of others. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave! Their advice is based on knowledge of the strength of the storm and its potential for death and destruction.
I. BE PREPARED BEFORE THE HURRICANE
- Check your marine insurance carefully to see if you are required to take some action in order to make the claim valid.
- Check with your marina and find out their policy for handling hurricanes. In some States marinas can order all boats to leave.
- If you are going to move your boat, determine where ahead of time.
- Learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
- Learn safe routes inland and make plans of where you will evacuate to.
- Inventory the property on your boat…with video equipment if possible. Plan what will be removed from the boat and what must stay.
- Keep all legal documents such as registration, insurance policy, marina rental agreement, radio license etc. in one easily moved, secure container. Make an inventory of documents, photos, and other irreplaceable articles that need to be taken in case of an evacuation.
II. WHEN A HURRICANE WATCH IS ISSUED (A WATCH means hurricane conditions pose a possible threat to the watch area within 36 hours)
- Frequently monitor radio, TV, NOAA Weather Radio, or hurricane Hotline telephone numbers for official bulletins of the storm’s progress.
- Review needs and working condition of emergency equipment, such as first aid kit, flashlights, battery-powered radios.
- Move boats on trailers close to house. Weigh them down. Lash securely to trailer and use tie-downs to anchor trailer to ground or house. Let air out of trailer tires.
- Anchored boats should be tied high, using a half hitch knot (loop knots slip). Anchor rigging should consist of new or good line and chain.
- Boats docked at marinas should have extra lines attached. Line lengths should be sufficient to take care of excessive high water.
- Once your boat is secured, leave it and don’t return once the wind and waves are up.
- Fuel your car.
- Stock up on canned provisions
- Check supplies of special medicines and drugs.
- Secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors.
- Tape, board, or shutter windows to prevent shattering.
- Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent their lifting from their tracks.
III. WHEN A HURRICANE WARNING IS ISSUED (A WARNING means sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected in the warning area within 24 hours or less.)
- Closely monitor radio, TV, NOAA Weather Radio, or hurricane Hotline telephone numbers for official bulletins.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY IF ORDERED TO DO SO.
- If staying home, in a sturdy structure on high ground: (plan to evacuate if you live on the coastline or on an offshore island, or live near a river or in a flood plain)
- Board up garage and porch doors.
- Move valuables to upper floors.
- Bring pets in.
- Fill containers (bathtubs) with several days supply of drinking water. (one gallon per person per day)
- Turn up refrigerator to maximum cold and don’t open unless necessary.
- Use phone only for emergencies.
- Stay indoors on the downwind side of the house away from windows.
- Beware of the eye of the hurricane.
- Bring in small hand tools to aid you should your home be damaged during the storm.
If you are evacuating : (always evacuate if you live in a mobile home)
- Leave areas which might be affected by storm tide or a stream flooding.
- Leave early – in daylight if possible.
- Shut off water and electricity at main stations.
- Take small valuables and papers, but travel light.
- Persons needing special foods or medicines should take them with them.
- Take sufficient money in small bills to defray certain expenses you may incur.
- Leave food and water for pets (shelters will not take your pets).
- Lock up house.
- Notify family members or friends outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
- Drive carefully to designated shelter or other evacuation location using recommended evacuation routes.
IV. AFTER THE STORM PASSES
- Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio or TV that the dangerous winds have passed.
- Drive carefully; watch for dangling electrical wires, undermined roads, and flooded low spots.
- Report broken or damaged water, sewer, and electrical lines.
- Use caution re-entering your home.
- Check for gas leaks.
- Check food and water for spoilage.
- If your home has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by building officials.
Feel free to print this out and hang it on your refrigerator as a constent reminder. You can take it down in December.