Hurricane Survival

So you think you are ready for that hurricane? You have probably taped your windows, saved water in jugs, and put new batteries in the flashlights. Now all you have to do is sit and wait, right? Wrong. Although the above steps are a part of keen hurricane survival, there are many more things that you should know and do before the storm hits you’re town. It’s true there are different categories of hurricane strength, but you should always be prepared for the worst, as mother nature has a sharp knack for quick changes.

Most people have done just enough to survive, very uncomfortably, a few days without electricity. What they do not consider is the possibility of extreme structural damage, loss of electric and water for an extended period of time, extreme flooding, and possibility of injury with no access to emergency care. Most folks couldn’t fathom such a reality, but the survivors of hurricane Katrina know that it is a reality. The absolute truth is that some areas of the United States could literally be drowned off the map if a hurricane greater than a category II hits there area. These locations include Long Island (New York), the southern tip of Florida, and the Hawaiian islands. Some smaller islands like Shelter and Block island could literally disappear altogether. So what is the most extreme thing a person can do if they are located in these areas?

Well, that’s fairly obvious; relocate or in other words, evacuate. No one wants to leave their home and belongings behind, but you must remember these things can be replaced and life itself cannot. Follow the advise of you’re local authorities and weather experts for your own safety and that of you’re family. If you live in a location routinely threatened by hurricane activity and own pets, I have a solution for you. Purchase a camper so you can take you’re beloved pet with you if the need to evacuate occurs. Stock up on canned pet food just as you would food for yourself and you’re family. Also consider requesting a small sedative from you’re vet to put away for future use. Some animals sense danger before it arrives and this can help calm you’re pet, therefore easing the relocation process.

Now let’s discuss food for an extended period of time. Canned goods are obviously the first choice, but there are ways to store un-canned goods to give you more of variety during this time. Consider purchasing a fresh pack machine, they take ordinary foods and seal them air tight, thus prolonging their freshness. Things such as cooked pasta, bread, cold cuts, hot dogs, and salted meats such as bacon. Water is essential, fill as many containers of water as you can. Also remember you can catch water from rainfall in clean containers should you’re supply run short, due to extended periods without running water. Now what about condiments, they will only last so long once opened, especially mayonnaise. The solution is this, every time you get fast food simply ask for some extra condiment packages and store them away in a large ziploc bag, for the time when they will be needed. Now evaporated milk is great, but do you have any idea how much space all those cans are going to take up, and the amount of weight they will add to your vehicle? Too much. Especially if you have young ones who still use milk as the primary part of their diet. Simply buy a few large boxes of powdered milk. It weighs less, lasts longer, and goes further. The most popular canned foods for storage are Tuna fish, ham, spaghetti dishes, macaroni and cheese, and soup. Remember to get a manual can opener. What do you think is the most forgotten item for storm preparedness? Would you believe it is paper goods? It’s true, most people remember everything except toilet paper, paper towels, and plates and utensils. The most important is obviously toilet paper, but many folks just don’t think of it. Buy these items in quantity at you’re local grocer when they go on sale, then simply store them away for a time when they will be needed. Paper plates and plastic utensils will be very useful when eating and will also cut down on water usage, as they can be tossed instead of washed.

What about injuries? You may not be able to get medical attention quickly or even at all, depending on the situation. It would be best to prepare a decent first aid kit. You can purchase a basic kit at the local drug store and add specialty items to it. Buy additional dressings, klings, medical tape, syringes, triple antibiotic ointment, aloe, and a tourniquet or two. Also, if you receive antibiotics from you’re doctor or dentist and don’t need to use or complete the script, then put the bottle in the fridge, and add to you’re kit when needed. Although you are advised to discard these medications when they are not being used or after an expiration date, the truth is that most of them will last years if they are refrigerated, without losing their potency. Of course, most doctors and pharmacists will not make you aware of this fact. If you are in a location and are unable to get medical attention for a serious wound or infection, these antibiotics could mean the difference between life and death. To be more accurate with you’re dispensing of which one to use try investing in a nursing pharmacology handbook. They are easy to obtain, and easy to understand. Remember you may have to be your own doctor for a while.

OK, so you’re communication has been cut off? What could you have done to prevent this? Simple, buy a car cell phone charger. Yes, believe it or not, you’re vehicle can charge you’re cell phone when the traditional electric lines are down. They are fairly cheap, and plug into any vehicle cigarette lighter. Newer vehicles actually have a slot just to charge cell phones. In extreme cases, if the cell phone towers have been damaged, the use of a CB can be very effective. You might be lucky enough to find a used system at a yard sale in your area. Another good item to have is a weather radio. It updates the weather on a constant basis, and can clue you in to the kind of situation you may be facing where you are located.

Clothing isn’t really a big issue, but comfort can make you’re situation a slight bit better. So items like rain coats, rain boots, and thermals would be very good items to purchase. Even a few inches of flooding can cause discomfort if your footwear is not waterproof, and you are standing in the water for a prolonged period of time. Small notes on flooding include emptying out your basement of all valuable items, raise electronic equipment onto higher tables and chairs, and unplug all outlets until the water has been removed. Investing in a wet/dry vacuum is another smart idea. If the flood threat is to the extent that you are surrounding you’re home with sandbags, then try to lift all furniture and items to the highest level in the home, or raise them on brick blocks.

The last and most important thing people forget is their valuable paperwork. Birth certificates, social security cards, wills, and any form of identification. These items are difficult to replace. The best course is to purchase a water-proof/fire-proof lock box. Something small that can be grabbed in a hurry and brought with you, without extensive effort, as a safe might be.

Follow these tips and you will be way ahead of the game before that hurricane hits, and increase you’re chances of survival.

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