Not too long ago our house was hit by a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 is the weakest hurricane with 5 being the strongest. Our property faired well, but our neighborhood was devastated with downed trees. Thankfully, no one was hurt, that I know of.
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Category 1 hurricanes might be the weakest but that does not mean that they are weak. They have winds up to 95 MPH. Those are some serious winds. How you prepare will depend on the category of the storm. The high the number the more preparations you may need to make and even evacuate your home. Read more about how different levels of preparedness will be needed for the different categories.
In this post we will talk about the most important things to do for any category hurricane.
1.First, you should decide whether evacuate or not. Depending on many things you will want to decide this well before the storm hits. Look at the trajectories, the category, the forecast, what the weatherman is saying, your house stability, and everything that surrounds your property. Decide if it is safe to stay or not.
If you live right on the coast, and it looks like the storm is going to be coming your way, it may be a good idea to evacuate! People near the coast are the most vulnerable. You will want to get as far off the coast as possible. Go as far inland as you can. See if there are friends or family that you might could stay with.
During Hurricane Matthew, I saw many people in a Florida group all ban together, and some even offered their homes to members, and even strangers. Even their pets/livestock were welcome sometimes! This is a great group of people! If you have nowhere to go during the next storm you might check their website forum to see if anyone has room for you.
2. Make a bug out bag. If you don’t already have one! I have several, for each family member. I also wrote several posts on making bug out bags. Including one that has links to Amazon to make it easier to build a great bag, it is called the Amazon Bug out Bag List. My Dollar Tree Bug Out Bag is great for people who can hardly afford to pay their bills. Been there done that! You won’t have the best quality items, money can buy but they may be helpful for a few days. I have a Vehicle Bug out Bag List also. It is the perfect size to keep in your car. If you are going to be away from home during a storm, check out my EDC for Women. When a storm is near you want to make sure that you have your basic necessities are covered.
Free Printable Bug Out Bag Checklist… Just sign up for our newsletter!
3. Speaking of necessities –
- Cell Phone wall and car charger – This is very important obviously! You want to be able to contact family after the storm passes to tell them you are ok.
- Also, it is a good idea to have a power bank charger that will charge your phone, or even better a solar charger. You will want to make sure both of these items are charge before the storm. A weather radio may do the job also. Some of them have cell phone chargers on them. Try and make sure you find one that will work with your phone. The other great part about these is that they usually have windup power, and/or solar power!
- The power may go out. You might need cash in case you are in desperate need of supplies. If the power is out and the store doesn’t have a generator, the debit/credit card machines will not work. You will need cold hard cash to pay with!
If you think the building where you keep your animals is strong enough to endure the storm, then they may be able to stay.
Many people use their garage to house their chickens, and other small animals during a really bad storm.
If you have pigs, cows, or horses, you can write your number on their fur with either spray paint or with a permanent marker. I have heard this works pretty well most of the time. I am sure there are some circumstances where they may be lost for good.
Fortify animal buildings by:
- Covering the windows.
- Fortify doors
- Cover any openings
Make sure you provide them with plenty of food and water, before the storm hits. You should not go outside during a storm!
5. Food & Water
As Homesteaders we may have the upper hand because we spend a lot of our time, preserving food. You may have canned food that you canned yourself, or maybe you have some ferments that you will be able to eat.
If you don’t have many home canned items you may want to purchase some. Just to make sure that you have enough perishables to get your through the next couple of days.
When the power goes out it might be out for 1 day or 3+ weeks. There is no telling how much damage will have to be repaired ahead of time. So, don’t stock up on a bunch of fresh foods. Think perishables. Before the storm hits and the power is turned off, it is a good idea to try and eat up whatever you can.
Also, go ahead a freeze some bottles. When the storm knocks out the power get the out and place them in the refrigerator. This will help things keep cold in there. You will want to keep the door closed as much as possible to prevent spoilage. Use your best opinion on whether or not to eat any of the items after that power goes out. If the food gets too hot it might have spoiled. Please be careful and don’t get yourself sick!
Non-Perishable food items idea list
For water, check out my blog post on backup water supply.
6. Outside Your Home – Things to do before the storm hits!
Put away anything that could be picked up by the wind. You don’t want stuff to fly around and into your home! Ladders, patio furniture, potted plants, all need to be stored in a safe place. This may be a shed, or the garage.
Close shutters before the storm hits. You don’t want to be outside during a hurricane passing over trying to close them!
Fortify your doors and windows! This may or may not be necessary. I think a category 4 is capable of busting open doors and windows. Learn more about how to fortify windows and doors at Florida Disaster.
Fill up your gas tank in your car. It is best to do this as soon as possible. Gas goes really quickly when there is an emergency nearby.
7. Inside Your Home
Find the safest place in your home. A place without windows, doors, or openings of any kind. Also, it is best to find a room with little to no outside walls. This may be a closet or a bathroom.
There are a several items you want to put into your safe room
- Candles, with a pan to sit them in so you don’t start a fire if they tip over. Or you could opt in to getting an LED lantern or flashlight. You will need to make sure you have plenty of batteries.
- Food – non perishables
- Snacks – Don’t eat them all in one sitting you might be mad at yourself later!
- Cell phone
- Bug out Bag
- Emergency Papers
- First aid kit
- Bottled juice
- Can opener
- Change of Clothes
- Pet Food if you have animals inside
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape – because you never know!
- Garbage bags
- Map, a good old fashioned paper map!
- Spoon/Fork to eat with
Babies need special care and supplies
- Medicine if applicable
- Diaper rash ointment
- Baby wipes
- Pacifier if applicable
- Toy or blanket
Items for entertainment – Grab what you like or have
- Board games
- Deck of cards
- Crossword puzzles
If you are facing a major storm here soon, I hope that you fair well! Send me a message on the contact form if you want me to keep you in my prayers. I would be happy to! Please don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for a storm! Get it done.
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