(CBS4) – Hurricanes are not like earthquakes, you have time to prepare.
Category 1 hurricanes are dangerous, and Category 5 storms can be survived. How well you and your family come through any storm depends on preparation. The things you do before a storm will have a dramatic effect on your situation after the storm, and NOW is the time to start your preparation.
If you answer the following questions correctly, the odds are very high that you and your family will ride out the storm without serious problems.
Important things you need to do to prepare for a storm:
- Decide NOW where you and your family will go when the next hurricane threatens. Decide on a specific place. Know if you live in an evacuation zone. If you must leave your own home, the best place to go is a well-protected house of a friend or relative who lives nearby but outside the evacuation zone. A shelter is a last resort. It is not recommended that you stay in any structure without good shutters or properly installed hurricane protection during any hurricane.
- DO NOT count on driving north on I-95 or the Turnpike. Being stuck in your car in a traffic jam is probably the worst place to be in a hurricane. There is no guarantee that the storm will not turn north and follow you. Even if you do reach your destination, you will likely be in a weaker building than you would be if you stayed in South Florida. There is a very real shortage of shelter spaces throughout Florida, and there aren't enough motel rooms for large numbers of people leaving South Florida.
- DO NOT count on going to the airport and flying out. If the hurricane moves quickly or develops suddenly, flights will be canceled. You can't stay in the airport to ride out the storm.
- DO plan to stay in South Florida. Make your hurricane plan NOW.
- Plan NOW how you are going to protect your home and property.
- Learn about shutters and other alternatives for protecting your house or apartment. See the hurricane protection information on this site. If you have doubts about the safety of your house, have it evaluated by an engineer. Most South Florida houses can be strengthened fairly easily.
- Have a family plan and rehearse it. DO NOT wait until a hurricane is approaching to decide who is going to be responsible for each task in preparing your home. A hurricane preparedness drill will give you an idea of how long it will take to complete your plan. Remember, a plan that takes 12 hours or more is NOT a realistic hurricane plan.
- Decide where you will park your car(s). A garage is the best place. Right next to the house is second best. Avoid trees and anything else that could fall and damage your car.
- Plan to move your boat early. People die in every hurricane trying to save their boats. DO NOT let that happen to you.
Plan NOW for your post-hurricane water supply.
You DO NOT need to buy bottled water. It's easy to prepare your own supply. Have enough containers on hand to hold one gallon of water per person per day, and fill them with tap water. Sterilize your containers with a little non-flavored bleach and water. Slosh it around, rinse the container, and then fill it.
You'll also need water for washing and flushing the toilet. The bathtub is a good place to hold non-drinking water. Use caulking to seal the drain.
DO NOT end up in line for water after a hurricane. A little planning now will save you a lot of time and frustration.
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