We are calling this travel, although being forced to evacuated one’s home, is not the kind of trip we like to take. Our first hurricanes together were in 1996 when Hurricane Bertha struck North Carolina in July, and Hurricane Fran in September. In 1999 Hurricane Dennis reached the coast in late August, followed by Hurricane Floyd in the middle of September, followed by Irene four weeks later. Since then we have experienced several subtropical storms and glazing’s by a number of named events (Bonnie, Hanna, Matthew, etc.).
While we have chosen on a number of occasions to ride the storms out at home, we have done so only after careful review of storm track and intensities. With that said, be aware there is no perfect scenario for staying at home. We have seen more damage from a Category 2 storm than we have from a Category 4. The ocean of factors that go into how a storm strikes are many. Some are scientific, while others are just the way of nature.
As Hurricane Veterans we advise everyone to err on the side of caution. Make a plan, pack up the family, and drive to safety. However, as we talk with friends and neighbors we recognize it is hard to abandon your home. Therefore, we further encourage preparedness. Here are a few safety tips:
- Have one gallon of water per person, per day for 3-7 days. That can mean using bottled water or cleaning a bathtub and filling it with drinkable water before the storm in case of water supply interruption or contamination.
- Maintain at least a 3-7 day food supply for each member of your family, including pets. Choose non-perishable foods, like canned items with a pop top, or high energy foods like trail mix or granola bars. Be ready to have NO power, for a day, a week, or even a month. (We went three weeks.)
- During a hurricane, your cell phone is your lifeline. Make sure you have several USB cables with wall and car plugs and an external battery that will charge your phone more than a few times if power is unavailable.
- Have a hurricane plan for all members of your family, including your pets. Assemble a pet emergency kit. Have a supply of food and water. If you must evacuate, know where your pet-friendly shelters are located.
- A well-stocked first aid kit can help you respond effectively to emergencies. Also, have at least a two-week supply of prescription medications and modify your medical kit to meet your needs.
- Find a local Weather app. You will it need for information about severe weather that might impact your area. Make sure alert and notification settings are on. Many local emergency services can now push notifications out to all cells phone.
- It’s imperative that you store important documents, such as insurance policies, in a waterproof container and store them in the highest possible spot to prevent water damage. Include external hard drives and laptops. If you must evacuate, take these documents with you.
- During a hurricane, west is usually best, but for rare storms that plow forward across a state, having an alternative evacuation plan could be a good idea.
There are 100 more things we could suggest if you are in the path of a hurricane. Most
importantly start doing research right now! Understand the power of a Hurricane. All local TV and Radio stations have excellent websites full of important information about your area and the plans you should take. The federal government has Ready.gov, a well established site for information.
We here at LovelyThingsNC continue to pray for those recovering in Houston, and we expand that prayer circle to all our east coast families as we wait for Irma and wonder about Jose.
If we’re smart, we’ll stay safe, and we’ll all be OK.