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Hurricane Protection

Prepare for a hurricane's arrival before it reaches land.

After hurricanes, be careful and watch for threats such as downed power lines. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
After hurricanes, be careful and watch for threats such as downed power lines.

Hurricane Protection

Hurricane protection is an important topic in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard. With hurricane season lasting roughly between June 1 and November 30, quite a bit of the year is vulnerable to hurricane formation and landfall. Unlike tornados or earthquakes, hurricanes make their existence known quite awhile before they actually do damage to land. For this reason, hurricanes can be prepared for, and it can make all the difference for human comfort and survival during and after the storm.

Window Protection

If one plans to live in an area vulnerable to hurricanes, it is prudent to make sure windows can be protected if a storm has its projected path coming to their area. Hurricane impact resistant windows, like from Gorell, protect homes from flying debris and offer the added bonus of protecting against intruders. This is the most expensive option to consider. Another popular option is the use of hurricane shutters. They vary from simple metal storm panels or plywood, to pre-installed rollup and accordion shutters that can be snapped shut in minutes. StormShutters.com compares various types of shutters available so consumers can make an informed choice about what will best fit their home. The Home Depot sells plywood, which is the most economical way to protect windows. Unfortunately, it is also very time-consuming and labor-intensive to put up.

Important Items to Have on Hand

The National Hurricane Center has a Hurricane Preparedness Web page. It explains in detail everything that a family must prepare for before a hurricane makes landfall in their area. Some of the most essential items to have immediately at hand are listed below:

  • Water -- At least one gallon per day per person in the household, a supply lasting 3 to 7 days
  • First Aid Kit -- Including prescription drugs and medicines that may be needed
  • Toiletries -- Hygiene items, moisture wipes
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Radio -- Battery-operated weather radio
  • Food -- Three to 7 days worth of food for everyone in the household. Food should include non-perishable juices and canned foods, dry snacks, special foods for babies, such as formula, a nonelectric can opener, utensils and fuel to cook on a grill, paper plates and plastic utensils.
  • Keys
  • Cell phones charged up and a traditional corded telephone that does not need electricity
  • Blankets, pillows and clothing appropriate for the situation, such as rain gear and waterproof boots
  • Coolers with ice
  • Cash in small bills and credit cards

In addition to this, many families choose to buy a generator to ease the discomfort after the storm if there is no electricity. Lowe's offers this guide to help consumers choose the most appropriate generator to fit their needs. If one plans to buy a generator, it is important to do it well before the threat of a storm, because this is one of the items that sells out quickly during hurricane warnings.

Additional Important Information

After a hurricane, the water supply is suspect. Filling up bathtubs in the house before the storm is a good idea. The water there can be used to help keep toilets flushing properly. This water is also used for washing, but not for drinking.

All important personal information, such as passports, social security cards and birth certificates, should be secured in a waterproof container or resealable plastic bag. In the event one needs to evacuate, they will stay intact and easy to find.

All vehicles should have a full tank of gas. Gas shortages are common and by making sure all cars get filled up well before the storm hits, a family is giving themselves the ability to flee after the storm if the need arises.

It is human nature to be curious and want to go outside to inspect damage to the home and surrounding areas. This is strongly discouraged because it is very dangerous. Electrical wires that have fallen down, weakened trees and damaged structures create health hazards. Displaced animals, such as alligators and snakes, are more likely to be out looking for a new place to be and can become a nuisance. Interestingly, the time of most fatalities during a hurricane is after the storm, as people take unnecessary risks because they think the threat is over. Cleanup is a more dangerous than many realize, and residents are not trained for many of the tasks they undertake.

Two recommended websites -- the National Hurricane Center and Weather Underground -- provide frequent updates on the progression of tropical weather to help individuals and families protect themselves.

Hurricanes are very dangerous storms. Thankfully, they are identified well before they make landfall. It is always better to be safe than sorry. By utilizing the above information, people have the information they need to make sure they get through the storm safely.

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