June is here and that means the Atlantic hurricane season has started. For those of you that live in an area prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, this means it’s time to dig out and review your hurricane readiness plan.
Not only is it time to bring your hurricane and storm-related gear out of storage, but it is also time to ensure that everything is in working order. This includes flashlights, lanterns, generators, fuel, and emergency cooking provisions.
To help you along, I have prepared for you an Annual Hurricane Readiness Checklist.
This brief checklist includes includes steps to take both before and during a hurricane. Although it is by no means all-inclusive, it should serve as enough to get you started on your road to hurricane preparedness. Note that even though this article is focused on hurricanes, much of it is applicable to other storms and power outages as well.
In addition to the Hurricane Ready Checklist, I have another fantastic giveaway for you. Up for grabs are two all new AquaPod kits. Good timing, right? More about that in a moment.
First, the Hurricane Ready Checklist with a summary of what you need to do to get ready for hurricane season.
The Hurricane Ready Checklist
Before Hurricane Season Starts
- Plan an evacuation route.
- Contact the local emergency management office to learn about the community hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters.
- Learn safe routes inland.
- Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place
Have disaster supplies on hand
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio or hand crank and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
Protect your windows
- Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood–marine plywood is best–cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window.
- Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
- Check into flood insurance since homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.
Develop an emergency communication plan
- In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
During Hurricane Watches and Warnings
- Education is one of the best forms of emergency preparedness. Knowing what a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning means is important.
- A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
- A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
During A Hurricane Watch
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
- Check emergency supplies.
- Fuel the car.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
- Review evacuation plan.
During A Hurricane Warning
- Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
- If in a mobile home, check tie downs and evacuate immediately.
- Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
- Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored.
If officials indicate evacuation is necessary: Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
- If you leave your home, tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
- If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor.
- If you decide to evacuate (or are told to do so by local authorities), take pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, blankets and sleeping bags with you.
- Lock up home and leave.
What the Heck is an AquaPod?
So what that heck is an AquaPod? I did a thorough review of the AquaPod a while back so today I will deliver just the Cliff Notes version.
The AquaPod is a heavy duty bathtub liner that can be filled with water in advance of a storm or weather system. Think of it as insurance when you anticipate that access to clean, usable water will be unavailable for a few days.
The AquaPod holds up to 65 gallons of water. Think about that. At a water requirement of 3 gallons a day per person, that works out to 22 man-days or 11 days of water for two people and more if you conserve. Also, you can expect the water to stay fresh for up to 8 weeks although water never really goes bad, just stale and or contaminated.
In addition to being a cinch to set up, something I like about the AquaPod is that the storage requirement is zilch. Storing the boxed kit takes up no room at all. Plus, if you have two bathtubs, you can have up to 130 gallons of fresh water ready to go before that hurricane of storm hits.
And there is one more thing. The AquaPodKit is made in the USA which is rare these days.
A couple of months ago the AquaPod kits were revamped a bit. The basic kit was made more compact and a new AquaPodKit PlusOne replaced the deluxe kits. Both kits are basically the same with the exception that the PlusOne includes two liners. The liners still hold 65 gallons and refills are available.
This is giveaway is for 2 kits: the standard AquaPod Kit with one liner, and also the AquaPod Kit PlusOne with 2 liners. There will be two winners. a Rafflecopter giveaway
To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below. Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours. The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”. After that, each option you select represents an additional entry. There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Some of you have had difficulties entering your email address in the Rafflecopter. I contacted support and they suggest that you clear your browser cache to see if that helps. Instructions are here: http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browsers-Cache. If that does not work, they suggested that you contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. They really seem sincere in wanting to help.
The Final Word
Living like I do in Washington State, you don’t think about hurricane readiness too much. Instead, we concern ourselves with earthquakes, mudslide and windstorms.
Many of our windstorms exceed 75 miles per hour and cause a lot of downed trees, damage and power outages so while they are not a hurricane per se, they still are a force to contend with. For you historians out there, a couple of major bridges have collapsed during windstorms, most notably Galloping Gertie and the I-90 Floating Bridge in Seattle.
There are just so many reason to prepare; not the least of which is Mother Nature. With so many preps to deal with, why not enter to win a free AquaPod Kit? With a little advanced storm warning, that will give you up to 65 gallons of extra water. And extra water is always a good thing!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight Item: Have you considered storing water in your bathtub? The AquaPod Kit is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. I call these “disruptive events”. I have used the AquaPod myself (remember 16 Tips for Coping Without Running Water?) and can personally recommend it.
Bargain Bin: Getting the goods you need to have in place to be comfortable during a hurricane can be daunting when you are just getting started. Here is a list of some gear to help you along the way.
Kaito Voyager V1 Dynamo and Solar Radio: I prefer this smaller, more basic Kaito because it is simple to use.
Coghlans Waterproof Matches 10-pack: There are 10 boxes of 40 matches each for about $5. That is a good deal for 400 waterproof matches.
Coleman Mini Lantern: You already know that I have a thing about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting. It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries. And boy does it give off light. Inexpensive (less than $10) plus, it is a genuine Coleman.
Chemical Lighting aka Light Sticks: These are inexpensive, portable and easy to use. These come in a number of colors so take your pick.
Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these (so far) and feel that these lights are worth double the price.
Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove: This Coleman One-burner Propane Stove is an easy-to-use portable stove that should meet almost any camp cooking need. The PerfectFlow regulator provides consistent cooking performance by producing a steady fuel stream, even in cold weather, high altitudes, or when fuel is low. Equipped with one 10,000 BTU burner, this fully adjustable stove will last for 2.2 hours on high or up to nine hours on low.
EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money.
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