Hurricane Preparedness Hacks

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Hurricane Preparedness Week has come and gone — it was in the spring — but this past year, even in the late summer, we were lining up our hacks to prepare for yet another hurricane.

So, while we’ve been down this road before, it’s always a good idea to review hurricane hacks for your home to help keep you, your family and your home safe during the storm.

preparing for hurricane bungee cording backyard
Our backyard before a hurricane. Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Hurricane Preparedness Hacks

Preparing for a hurricane is crucial to ensuring the safety of you and your family. Here are some basic hurricane preparedness hacks to help you get started.

Hacks Outside Your Home

  • Trim trees and shrubs around your property to prevent debris from flying around during the storm.
  • Secure loose outdoor items, such as patio furniture, grills and toys, to prevent them from becoming projectiles.
  • Cover windows and doors with storm shutters or plywood to protect against high winds and flying debris.
  • Take down flags and umbrellas. Once we forgot to take in our American flag before a hurricane. Then, the wind ripped the flag holder right off the house, damaging our door frame and shingles.
trees down after hurricane in new hope
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Hacks Inside Your Home

  • Create an emergency plan that includes evacuation routes, a meeting place and contact information for family members and emergency services.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that includes water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, flashlights and batteries.
  • Make sure your home is equipped with a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Other Tips

  • Stay informed by monitoring local news and weather reports for updates on the storm.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities, including evacuation orders.
  • If you need to evacuate, turn off utilities and unplug appliances to prevent electrical fires and surges.
  • Keep important documents, such as insurance policies and identification, in a waterproof container.
  • Consider purchasing a portable generator to provide backup power in case of an outage.

Remember, the best way to stay safe during a hurricane is to be prepared. By taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of a severe storm. For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit, Red Cross, or National Weather Service.

Securing Your Home

When preparing for a hurricane, securing your home is crucial to minimize damage and protect your family. Here are some hacks for securing both the inside and outside of your home.

Hacks against the wind

  1. Make sure exterior doors are hurricane-proof and have at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock that is at least one inch long. Sliding glass doors should be made of tempered glass and covered with shutters or plywood during a storm.
  2. Move all lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, and potted plants inside to prevent them from becoming projectiles during the storm.
  3. Unplug electronics: Unplug all electronics and appliances to prevent damage from power surges.
photos after hurricane sandy vertical
My street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Hacks against water and flooding

  1. Move valuables to higher ground. If you live in a flood-prone area, move valuable items to higher floors or elevations to prevent water damage.
  2. If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working. Also, does it have a battery backup in case the power goes out? If not, get one now.
  3. Clean your gutters and downspouts to prevent clogging, which can cause water damage. Secure gutters and downspouts to prevent them from coming loose during high winds.
  4. Bring in outdoor furniture:
  5. Secure propane tanks: If you have a propane tank, make sure it is secured to prevent it from tipping over during high winds.

By following these tips, you can help protect your home and family during a hurricane. Remember to always heed evacuation orders and stay safe.

Emergency Supplies Checklist

When preparing for a hurricane, it is important to have the necessary supplies on hand to ensure your safety and comfort during and after the storm. Here is a checklist of emergency supplies you should consider having:

Supplies for Inside Your Home

  • Water: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. It is also a good idea to have water purification and filtration supplies on hand.
  • Food: Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items such as canned food, energy bars, and dried fruit. Make sure you have a three-day supply for evacuation and a two-week supply for home.
  • First Aid Kit: Include bandages, gauze, antiseptic, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries: Make sure you have a battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-Powered or Hand-Crank Radio: Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for storm updates and other emergency information.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: Include items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and soap.
  • Cash: Have cash on hand in case ATMs and credit card machines are not working.
  • Important Documents: Keep important documents such as passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies in a waterproof container.
  • Multi-Purpose Tool: A Swiss Army knife or similar tool can be useful in a variety of situations.
  • Extra Clothing and Blankets: Have warm clothing and blankets on hand in case of power outages.

Supplies for Outside Your Home

  • Fuel and Propane: Make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car and extra propane for your grill or camping stove.
  • Generator: If you have a generator, make sure it is in good working order and you have enough fuel to last several days.
  • Cell Phone and Charger: Keep your cell phone charged and have a portable charger on hand.
  • Non-Electric Can Opener: Make sure you have a manual can opener in case the power goes out.
  • Tools and Supplies: Keep a shovel, axe, and other tools on hand in case you need to clear debris or make repairs.

By having these emergency supplies on hand, you can be better prepared for a hurricane and ensure your safety and comfort during and after the storm.

Important Documents to Secure

When preparing for a hurricane, it is essential to secure important documents to keep them safe and easily accessible. These documents include personal identification, insurance policies, medical records, and other critical documents.

Make sure to gather all important documents and store them in a waterproof and fireproof container. You can also consider scanning these documents and storing them in a secure digital location, such as a password-protected USB drive or cloud storage.

Here are some of the important documents that you should secure before a hurricane:

  • Personal Documents: These include identification documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and social security cards. Keep these documents in a secure location that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • Insurance Policies: Make sure to have copies of your homeowners, flood, and other insurance policies, as well as contact information for your insurance company. Keep these documents in a waterproof and fireproof container or store them digitally.
  • Medical Records: Keep copies of your medical records, including prescriptions, allergies, and medical history. Make sure to have contact information for your healthcare providers and emergency contacts.
  • Important Contacts: Create a list of emergency contacts, including family members, friends, and healthcare providers. Keep this list in a waterproof and fireproof container or store it digitally.
  • Emergency Cash: Keep some emergency cash in a waterproof and fireproof container in case ATMs and banks are not accessible during a hurricane.

By securing these important documents, you can ensure that you have the necessary information and resources to navigate a hurricane safely.

Evacuation Planning

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, it is essential to have an evacuation plan in place. In the event of an evacuation order, you need to be ready to leave quickly and safely. Here are some tips on how to prepare for an evacuation.

Understanding Evacuation Orders

When a hurricane is approaching, local authorities may issue an evacuation order. This order will tell you whether you need to evacuate and when you need to leave. It is important to take evacuation orders seriously, as they are issued for your safety. If you are unsure whether you are in an evacuation zone, contact your local government or emergency management office.

Preparing Your Evacuation Kit

Before you leave, you should prepare an evacuation kit. This kit should include essential items such as:

  • A three-day supply of water and non-perishable food
  • A first aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra clothing and blankets
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Cash and important documents

Make sure to pack your evacuation kit well in advance of a hurricane to avoid last-minute scrambling.

Identifying Evacuation Routes

Know the evacuation routes in your area, and plan several different routes in case roads are blocked. If you have a car, make sure it is in good working order and has a full tank of gas. If you do not have a car, make arrangements with friends or family members who do.

When you evacuate, make sure to follow the designated evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts or try to find your own way. Local authorities will have designated shelters set up for evacuees. If you need to go to a shelter, make sure to bring your evacuation kit with you.

Remember, the key to surviving a hurricane is to be prepared. By understanding evacuation orders, preparing an evacuation kit, and identifying evacuation routes, you can ensure your safety in the event of a hurricane.

Dealing with Power Outages

Power outages are a common occurrence during hurricanes, so it is important to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you deal with a power outage:

  • Have a backup power source: Consider investing in a generator or battery backup system to keep your essential appliances running during a power outage. Make sure you know how to use it safely and have enough fuel or batteries to last for several days.
  • Unplug appliances: Unplug all non-essential appliances to protect them from power surges when the power comes back on.
  • Keep food safe: Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to maintain the temperature. If the power is out for more than four hours, consider moving perishable items to a cooler with ice.
  • Use flashlights: Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid the risk of fire. Make sure you have extra batteries on hand.
  • Stay cool: If it is hot outside, try to stay cool by opening windows and using fans. If you have a portable air conditioner, use it sparingly with your backup power source.
  • Be cautious: Avoid using outdoor grills, camp stoves, or generators indoors as they can produce carbon monoxide, which is deadly.

By following these tips, you can stay safe and comfortable during a power outage caused by a hurricane.

Handling Post-Hurricane Cleanup

After a hurricane has passed, it is important to take necessary measures to clean up and ensure safety before returning to your home. Here are some tips to help you handle post-hurricane cleanup:

Assess the Damage

Before you start cleaning up, assess the damage to your property. Check for any structural damage, downed power lines, or gas leaks. If you notice any of these, contact the appropriate authorities immediately.

Wear Protective Gear

When cleaning up, wear protective gear to prevent injuries and illnesses. This includes gloves, boots, masks, and goggles. Protect your skin from cuts and scratches by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Remove Debris

Remove any debris that may have accumulated in your yard or around your home. This may include fallen branches, broken furniture, and other items that may have been carried by the wind or floodwaters. Be sure to dispose of the debris properly.

Clean Up Flooded Areas

If your home has been flooded, clean up the affected areas as soon as possible. Remove any standing water and dry out the area using fans or dehumidifiers. Be sure to wear protective gear when cleaning up flooded areas, as they may contain harmful chemicals and bacteria.

Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly

Dispose of hazardous waste, such as batteries and chemicals, properly. Contact your local waste management authorities for guidance on how to dispose of these items.

Check Your Insurance Policy

Check your insurance policy to see if it covers hurricane damage. If it does, contact your insurance company to file a claim.

By following these tips, you can handle post-hurricane cleanup safely and efficiently. Remember to take your time and prioritize safety above all else.

Taking Care of Pets and Personal Needs

Your pets are important members of your family and should be included in your emergency plan. If you need to evacuate, make sure to bring your pets with you. Pre-identify shelters, a pet-friendly hotel, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.

Make sure you have enough pet supplies to last for at least a week. Stock up on food, water, and medication for your pets. Include copies of your pet’s vaccination records and other important documents in your emergency kit.

In addition to pet supplies, make sure you have personal hygiene items and first aid supplies ready. Here’s a list of items you should consider having on hand:

  • Personal hygiene items: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and wipes.
  • First aid supplies: bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any prescription medications you take.
  • Other items: flashlight, batteries, cash, important documents (such as insurance policies and identification), and a portable radio.

It’s a good idea to have these items packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate quickly. Keep them in a waterproof container or bag to protect them from water damage.

Remember, being prepared can help you and your pets stay safe during a hurricane. Stay informed about the latest weather updates and evacuation orders, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

Preparing for a hurricane can be a daunting task, but there are many resources available to help you. Here are some additional resources to help you prepare for a hurricane:

Office Resources

Your workplace may have resources available to help you prepare for a hurricane. Check with your office to see if they have an emergency plan in place and if they offer any resources for employees to prepare for a hurricane.

Local Officials

Your local government may have resources available to help you prepare for a hurricane. Check with your local officials to see if they have an emergency plan in place and if they offer any resources for residents to prepare for a hurricane. You can also sign up for emergency alerts from your local government to stay informed about any potential hurricane threats.


There are many videos available online that can help you prepare for a hurricane. These videos can provide you with information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. You can find these videos on YouTube or by searching online for “hurricane preparedness videos.”

Other Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you prepare for a hurricane:

  • Make a hurricane kit that includes essentials such as water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and a flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Secure any loose outdoor items such as patio furniture, trash cans, and bicycles.
  • Trim any trees or bushes that could potentially fall on your home during a hurricane.
  • Know your evacuation route and have a plan in place for where you will go if you need to evacuate.
  • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas and that you have extra cash on hand in case of power outages.

What is Hurricane Preparedness Week

Every year, Hurricane Preparedness Week was an unofficial event to help remind homeowners of the dangers of tropical cyclones aka hurricanes. However, in 2023, President Biden made it official, proclaiming “April 30 through May 6, 2023, as National Hurricane Preparedness Week.”

Many states have emergency or hurricane preparedness sales tax holidays. This includes:

During these tax holidays, you can purchase certain equipment without paying sales tax. For example, during the Texas Emergency Preparedness Supplies Sales Tax Holiday each year in April, you can buy hurricane shutters for your home and avoid sales tax.

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