Where is the safest place to be during a hurricane? If you live in an area where there is a risk of hurricanes, it is important to learn how to protect yourself from these severe storms and to be prepared. Hurricanes are dangerous and can bring high winds, flooding, rip currents and storm surges, according to Ready.gov. Stay safe during hurricane season by working as a family to prepare a plan, and follow your plan when hurricanes are predicted for your area.
Determine Your Hurricane Season
Hurricanes form over oceans and move toward land, but they can move far inland from the coast. If you live near the Atlantic coast, hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. In the western United States, which can be affected by hurricanes that form on the eastern Pacific Ocean, hurricane season is May 15 through November 30. In the central Pacific Ocean, the highest risk of hurricanes is from June 1 through November 30.
Identify Your Evacuation Zone
Determine if you live in an evacuation zone, and talk with your parents about what you should do if an evacuation order is issued by local authorities. Develop a plan for where you'll go, how you'll get there and how you'll communicate with other family members if an evacuation is ordered.
Make a Plan
Talk with your family about different evacuation scenarios. Determine a safe evacuation site and consider how you will all get there and who you will stay with. Think about how you'll protect your pets from hurricanes and if any of your family members will need specific assistance or medical supplies.
Identify a place in your home where you'll shelter in place if you don't have time to leave before the storm strikes – a place as far away from windows and doors as possible, like a closet or interior room. Once your plan is established, write it down and make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during and after a hurricane.
Gather Essential Supplies
Have an emergency supply kit ready to go ahead of time. Share its location with other members of your family, and keep it stocked with at least three days of supplies, recommends the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Include medicines, a first aid kit, non-perishable human and pet food, portable technology and some cash in this kit.
Prepare Your Home and Technology
If you have time to help your family protect your home from a hurricane, focus on bringing outside items like bikes and furniture inside. Help adults with boarding up windows and doors. Charge your cell phones and tablets and gather backup charging devices, especially those that are solar- or battery-powered. Check the batteries in your radios and collect flashlights.
Listen for Warnings
Before hurricane season, check your supply kit and replenish it as needed. During hurricane season, stay alert for storm warnings. Pay attention to the weather and recognize the warning signs of dangerous storms. Sign up for alerts in your area and listen for messages from emergency alert services.
Follow Your Plan
When a dangerous hurricane is headed your way, know what to do ahead of time. Stick to the plan you developed with your family, and be ready to evacuate if necessary. If you aren't able to follow the plan for some reason, communicate with your family about where you are and who you are with. If you have time to do so before a hurricane hits, check with your friends and neighbors to make sure they are protecting themselves from the storm.
Shelter Until It's Safe
If you are sheltering in place, do not go outside until the storm completely passes. If your family evacuated from your home, do not return until it is safe to do so. Even after the hurricane moves past, conditions can be very dangerous due to flooding and power outages, according to the National Weather Service. Continue to listen for news and weather updates, and proceed with caution after a hurricane moves through your area.
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether your land may be subject to flooding so that you can plan the feasibility of staying at home versus evacuating to higher ground. Solar-powered and hand-crank emergency equipment, such as hand-crank cell phone chargers and solar battery chargers, can be very handy when the power is out.
About the Author
Meg Schader is a freelance writer and copyeditor. She holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from Cornell University and a Master of Professional Studies in environmental studies from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Along with freelancing, she also runs a small farm with her family in Central New York.