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Staying Safe in Your Home During a Hurricane

UPDATED November 9, 2009

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Alan Lustig

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Each year, residents along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are faced with the decision of whether or nor to evacuate their homes when there is an approaching hurricane. The first thing to consider is any evacuation orders issued by local emergency management officials. If a mandatory evacuation is ordered, it is strongly advised to comply as life threatening conditions are being expected.

However, should an evacuation not be ordered or even in some cases discouraged, remember there are still dangers of trying to ride out the storm. However, by following several safety guidelines, there are ways to minimize these risks

Well before the storm even nears it is important to properly prepare. Protect all windows by installing hurricane shutters. Keep precut plywood with holes already drilled on hand at all times to be able to install quickly on any windows without hurricane shutters. These are essential in order to keep any water and debris from coming inside. Also remove any outdoor objects not braced down and bring them inside for the duration of the storm.

Next, prepare a disaster supply kit. The contents of this kit should include but are not limited to the following items:

  • Non-perishable food, enough to last for several days
  • Approx. 3 gallons of water per person
  • First aid kit and other specificmedications
  • Flashlights
  • Radio/Weather Radio
  • Charged Cell Phone
  • Corded telephone that does not depend on electricity
  • Assorted battery types
  • Blankets, pillows and clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Supply of money
  • Tool set
  • Pet care essentials
  • During the storm, ensure that all external doors are securely shut along with all inside doors. Remain inside at all times, as far away from windows as possible, in an interior room on the lowest floor. Check in with a radio on weather updates to stay atop of any flood, tornado and other threats.

    Some calm periods may occur throughout the storm. These however are not uncommon with breaks between rain bands and underneath the eye. Until it is known for certain that the storm has passed entirely though, it is best to remain indoors.

    While these guidelines can help mitigate the risks of attempting to ride out the storm, it is always best to follow instructions from local emergency management officials, and if a mandatory evacuation is issued for your area, the best option is to pack up and head for safety.

    Remember, during hurricane season, be sure to keep WeatherBug active in your system tray in order to receive the latest information for your area.

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    Story image: WeatherBug user Myria Rylee of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., took this picture showing the fury of Hurricane Wilma.

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