Household Tips for Hurricane Preparation


If you live in an area that experiences hurricanes, it's critical to be prepared for them. In some cases, being prepared for a hurricane can save your life or the life of others. So what is the best way to prepare for a hurricane? Should you make a hurricane preparedness kit or list? Keep reading to learn valuable and life-saving tips to prepare for a severe storm.

How do I prepare for hurricane season 2021?

With a busier than average hurricane season approaching us in 2021, the American Red Cross recommends that people living in hurricane zones within the U.S. should begin to prepare. The Red Cross has some strong recommendations that you should consider to make sure you and your family are safe1.

First, you should create an evacuation plan that covers what to do if you get separated from your family or where to go in the home in an emergency. Next, you should build an emergency kit (more on this shortly) filled with all the essential items you'll need to either evacuate or stay in your home for long periods with no electricity or water. And last, you should keep up to date with local news for evacuation orders or other pertinent information.

What supplies do you need to prepare for a hurricane?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that if you live in a hurricane zone, you prepare a hurricane kit to have ready in an evacuation or in the event you lose power and/or water for long periods. This is what they suggest you gather to create your hurricane preparedness kit2.

  • Food and water: Have enough on hand to last your family two to four weeks
  • Flashlights: For if/when the power goes out
  • Hand-crank radio: To listen to updates from the national weather service and local emergency services
  • First Aid Kit: To cover basic medical emergencies
  • Medications: If you take medication, try to keep a seven or 14-day supply on hand
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items: Baby wipes, hand sanitizers, etc.
  • Copies of personal documents: Any IDs, birth certificates, insurance policies, medical information, etc.
  • Extra cash: ATMs may be offline for quite a while, or you are unable to leave your area
  • Extra fuel: For a car or a generator if you have one

FEMA recommends that you strive to have most, if not all, of these items stored away at your home to make sure you are prepared in the event of a hurricane emergency.

How do first responders prepare for hurricanes?

First responders, such as firefighters, typically rely on the same preparedness techniques to properly handle natural disasters — with an emergency plan. First responders will coordinate with their families to determine the safest response to an emergency or natural disaster and build their own emergency kit(s) with the necessary supplies for survival. First responders remain prepared as early as possible, allowing them the peace of mind to adequately focus on their rescue efforts3.

To prepare for a hurricane, a fire station must first assess staffing. When a storm is about to strike, most fire stations are in an “all hands on deck” mode, where all staff must report to the station. They will then determine proper accommodation, including ensuring all firefighting staff has adequate food, water and places to rest.

Among staffing and accommodation concerns, firefighters will need to ensure that their equipment is properly functioning before an emergency.

Firefighters will also need to make medical evacuee plans for EMS services. They will coordinate with hospitals and other agencies to ensure that people suffering from medical emergencies can be properly attended to and/or evacuated to a place where they can receive the medical attention they need.

The last and most difficult challenge that first responders like firefighters face is deciding to deem the emergency too dangerous to answer calls. There may be a period when the hurricane is fully present, which means they will have to take shelter rather than risk the safety of the first responders. As soon as they can continue rescue efforts, they will return to the area and resume operation4.

What food goes in a hurricane kit?

If you live in a hurricane-prone region of the U.S., you should always have a hurricane kit on hand stored away somewhere you can access it easily in the event of an emergency. You will want to have an evacuation kit filled with essential items like food, water, medications, etc. But what kind of food supply should you keep in your home in the event of an emergency?

Maybe conditions on the ground are safe enough that you do not need to evacuate, and instead, you and your family will be waiting it out until essential services like electricity and water are restored. Even if your home is still habitable after a hurricane event, in some cases, it could take weeks before you have your electricity and water restored or before road access is open enough that you can drive somewhere to purchase food and water. Even still, it’s unknown what stores in your area will be able to operate after a hurricane event.

You should always strive to maintain bottled water and a non-perishable food supply that will last your entire family two- to four-weeks. Here is a quick list of essential items that will be high-calorie, high-protein, and will last the longest on your pantry shelves5.

  • Nuts and trail mix: Loaded with high-protein, high-fat nuts will help you sustain for a long time; they are also mixed with various dried fruits and chocolates that can provide additional calories and sugars
  • Granola bars and power bars: These types of cereal bars are a great way to provide a carbohydrate source that will keep energy levels high; they also can be loaded with protein, depending on the brand of bars
  • Dried fruit: Have a significant amount of fiber and potassium and can act as a morale booster as you are waiting out the storm
  • Tuna and canned or dried meats: Packs a lot of protein and fatty acids into a small container with almost two years of shelf-life, but you do not have to limit yourself to tuna as there are different types of canned meats to look into canned salmon, turkey, sausages, or dried meats like beef jerky
  • Canned vegetables: You can get many essential vitamins and minerals from canned vegetables; make sure to have a variety on hand or purchase the mixed vegetable varieties
  • Canned soups: Even if you have no access to a stove or microwave, you can always eat canned soups and canned chili straight from the can without heating because they are precooked and ready to eat as is (it may actually taste much better than it sounds, especially if you are hungry)
  • Water and sports drinks: Make sure you have an ample supply of water and sports drinks like Powerade on hand at all times; bonus: sports drinks not only hydrate and taste good, but they also provide electrolytes and carbohydrates

By having a two to four-week supply of some or all of the items listed above, you can ensure that your family will be properly prepared to hunker down after a severe hurricane event.

How do you prepare your house for a hurricane?

Hurricanes can bring a variety of disastrous conditions that have the potential to create some devastating destruction to your home. With winds that can reach over 150 mph, there is the potential for flying debris to do real damage to your home, in addition to the heavy rainfall, mudslides and flooding. Here are a few quick ways you can prepare your house for a severe storm.

If a hurricane is forecasted for your area, you should:

  • Unplug all electronics: Even if you have a surge-protector, unplug everything when the storm moves into your area
  • Check for leaks: If you have had signs of any leaks in the past, if you have time, you should address them in the days leading up to a hurricane
  • Trim trees and shrubs: Take some time before hurricane season to remove any dead branches from trees or any other excess growth that could become an issue in high winds
  • Clean gutters: You will want your gutter system working properly to keep water away from your home’s exterior walls
  • Clear outdoor furniture: Anything you have outside your home that is not bolted down, consider moving it into an indoor space like a garage or shed
  • Protect windows: Have shutters installed on your windows, otherwise, you will need to have them boarded up before the storm hits

These are just a few of the many actions that you can take to protect your home from the devastation a hurricane can cause.

What to do before a hurricane comes?

If you get word that a hurricane is approaching, you can do plenty of things to take caution. Here are some things you can do to prepare for a hurricane6:

  • Review your plan and check off your checklist
  • Secure the exterior of your property
  • Install storm shutters
  • Move your cars to safety
  • Fuel up vehicles
  • Charge phones
  • Test your generator
  • Unplug appliances
  • Store important documents
  • Locate or prep emergency kit
  • Find a safe shelter room

What is most needed after a hurricane?

After a hurricane, you may be trapped in your home or wherever you are sheltered. If you cannot leave your shelter, you will want to have food, water, and first-aid supplies on hand. If you take any medications critical to your health, you will want to make sure you have these available during and after the hurricane passes.

Can hurricanes cause power outages?

Yes, power outages and hurricanes almost go hand-in-hand. It is extremely common to lose electricity due to the high winds and flooding that come with storms. High winds can knock down power lines, and flooding can cause water to get into electrical infrastructure, preventing it from functioning correctly.

How do hurricanes affect electricity?

Hurricanes can damage the energy supply. After a storm, you will likely experience a power outage, and it may last more than a day or two. Hurricanes may also cause fluctuations in the price of oil, natural gas and electricity prices. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you may want to consider an energy supply plan. As an Inspire member, you can access clean energy for one flat price.

How does it work?

To get started, visit our homepage and enter your address and/or ZIP Code. If Inspire’s clean energy supply plans are available in your area, you can proceed with linking your utility and discover the beginning of consistent and predictable monthly energy bills.

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  1. redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/experts-predict-busy-2021-hurricane-season.html 

  2. fema.gov/press-release/20210318/proper-emergency-kit-essential-hurricane-preparedness 

  3. ready.gov/ready-responder  

  4. columbiasouthern.edu/blog/may-2019/hurricane-preparedness-for-fire-departments 

  5. realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/emergency-foods 

  6. chubb.com/us-en/individuals-families/resources/10-steps-to-prepare-for-a-hurricane.html