Are You Prepared for the 2018 Hurricane Season? Preparation Tips, Safety Advice and MORE!

Guest blog by Casey Heigl

Hurricanes are not the most polite guests. If they choose to visit your home, they bring wind, water, and varying degrees of damage with them. A little bit of wind and rain can go a long way toward wreaking havoc in your neighborhoods and community. With wind speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour, even a category one stormcan cause some serious damage. Wind can blow down fences, trees, and signposts, which can land on buildings and equipment. Rain brings flooding, mosquitoes, and unbearable humidity to warm climates.

Hurricanes often lead to power and running water outages: no refrigerator, microwave, or electric stove to cook with; no air conditioning in muggy weather; and no lights to see by when it gets dark. If you are prepared, you can stay safe and sane during hurricane season whether you choose to stay at home or travel to a safer location.

Hurricane Season

According to the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory’s Hurricane Research Division, hurricane season lasts for six months, from June through November, every year. These months mark peak times for hurricanes—97% of hurricanes land during this window. That means the 2018 Hurricane Season is already underway: Are you prepared?

Preparing Your Family

Talk to your family about hurricane preparedness. Communicating with your family about your plans can help things go smoothly if you need to react quickly. If a storm heads your way, cellular service can sometimes become congested. How will you contact each other if cell phone service falters? Where will your family meet in case of a pending evacuation?

For the adults, what will your workplace offer and require of you? Reach out to your company’s disaster response team, if they have one, to figure out reporting procedures during a big storm. For your children, talk to your school system and care providers. How will your children get home in the event of a storm? What happens if you are delayed at work or in heavy traffic due to strong weather conditions?

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

If a storm heads your way, one of the biggest decisions you will have to make is relatively simple: Will you stay or will you go? Both options have some advantages, but it is worth your time to think about why you might choose one or the other. If you choose to leave, travel can be difficult if you are leaving with the crowd. Roads and highways can become quite crowded, especially if your community responds to an evacuation request; you might decide to leave before a request occurs so that getting out of the city will be less difficult. Have a hurricane kitready for each family member so you can take off at a moment’s notice.

If you choose to stay, you will need to prepare for the loss of electricity and water. Having a camping stove or small propane grill might make cooking easier without power. Keep canned and ready-to-eat food on hand so you can make satisfying and nutritious meals for your entire family for several days and even weeks. Also, keep candles and flashlights handy. Your local government might have safety alerts to which you can subscribe to be among the first to know in case of stormy situations.

Creating a Hurricane Kit

A good hurricane kit will make leaving quickly a breeze. Making kits together as a family can help start the conversation about responding in the case of a storm. A basic hurricane kit will have enough food and water to last three days. You should also include basic hygiene and medical care items, such as soap and band-aids.

Seeing Is Believing

During a storm, you will almost certainly lose power. Electricity around the city might go out for several days, resulting in dark and humid home conditions. Prepare for the loss of your lights by collecting flashlights and candles.

Flashlights are best for moving around the house at night when your family is asleep or searching for hurricane kit items in the dark. You should have at least one flashlight for every member of your household. Consider a variety of flashlights for multiple purposes: a heavy-duty mag light will come in handy if you need to venture into a pitch-black garage or navigate your murky backyard, while a lightweight and portable clip-on flashlight might be better for your child taking a trip to the toilet.

Candles can be a lifesaver for eating meals, playing games, and storytelling once the sun starts to go down. Save your batteries and conserve fuel for the generator by stockpiling candles. You might consider making your own as a family activity while preparing for hurricane season. This provides another opportunity to discuss how your family will handle a hurricane and the potential scenarios.  

Prepping Your Home

If a storm heads your way, you will need to storm-proof your home. The easiest way to do this is to remove clutter from outside your home and shutter the windows. Newer homes in hurricane zones will often come with pre-cut hurricane shutters you simply need to nail to your outside window frames. Ensure you know where these are and that you can access them quickly.

Older homes may not have pre-cut shutters. If you contact your local hardware store or storm-proofing business with enough notice, you can procure shutters to protect your windows. Move any outdoor items, like patio furniture or potted plants, inside to reduce the likelihood of damage. It’s also helpful to have a strong waterproof hot meltbonding agent handy to adhere any last-minute home repairs before wind and rain come surging in.

Your Home After the Storm

Once the storm has passed, you may be ready to return or venture out in your city. Be prepared for flooded areas, downed trees and signs, and damaged buildings. If you are returning from out of town after an evacuation notice, your local government may deny access to the city unless you can prove you live there, so make sure you take proof of your residence (such as a piece of mail). Monitor your local news for the most up-to-date information regarding travel and safety in your area.

Your Community After the Storm

Be prepared to face damage and closures around the city as your community assesses and attends to any damage. Even with returned power, stores and restaurants in your area may not be open right away.

Helping Hurricane Victims

Whether the weather affected you, your neighbors, or someone across the country, hurricane victims will always appreciate your support. You can contact local organizations and charities to determine the best way you can contribute: Often, donations in the form of time, money, or supplies can make a substantial difference in the life of someone impacted by a storm.

Casey Heigl is the Marketing Manager for Hotmelt.com, one of the companies that makes up Heigl Technologies. She has extensive knowledge of hot melt applications, vendors, industry trends and how they are used across various verticals. Casey enjoys sharing her unique perspective through her blog writing.