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How to Prepare for a Hurricane

It’s hurricane season here in Houston, and in the wake of Harvey, the anxiety levels are high.  Residents are vying for water, fuel, lumber and supplies.  You and your family should be fully prepared for a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.  Here are some of the most important things you can do to ensure you are prepared:

  • Secure your home. If you don’t have hurricane-rated windows, you should use hurricane shutters or plywood to board up every window and French or sliding glass doors.
  • Secure your yard. Remove any items that could be easily lifted by wind, such as outdoor furniture, tents, gardening tools, bird baths, trampolines, and so on.
  • Secure your valuables. Put important documents like passports, birth certificates and insurance papers in waterproof containers that are easily accessible in the case of an emergency evacuation.
  • If you own a generator, turn it on and run it for a bit to make sure it’s fully functional.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items liked canned food and dried food items. Camping stores like Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park carry dried meals that can be mixed with water, and they last twenty years or more and are much lighter than canned goods.
  • Stock up on drinking water, especially larger containers like gallon or five-gallon jugs.
  • Fill your bath tub with water in case of plumbing issues and lack of running water after the hurricane has passed.
  • Withdraw cash. It is good to have liquid cash in case ATM’s and banks are not operational for a while.
  • Know the location of your nearest evacuation shelter, and plan the route with your family.
  • Have an emergency bag packed and ready to go. If it is waterproof, even better.  Be sure to pack first aid supplies, flash lights with batteries, and other emergency supplies.
  • Take pictures of your home and keep records, in case it’s needed for insurance purposes afterwards.

In addition to preparing yourself and your family, don’t forget to connect up with your neighbors, local evacuation shelters, churches, and other groups.  As in most emergency situations, we are stronger and more effective if we work together.  So yes, prepare for the worst – but help your neighbors prepare, too.  In times of emergency, the most valuable asset we have is each other and our ability to help.

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