Personal Hurricane Prep Plans for Hurricane Season

This information was provided by a military unit at a local base.

As we are rapidly approaching the start of the hurricane season, which is forecasted to be slightly above average with one major storm making landfall is the US mainland, many of you are working from home.  This is the perfect time to take stock of your Hurricane preparations, supplies and plans.

  • The rule thumb is the first 72 hours are on you, meaning if you plan to shelter in place at your home, be prepared to live off the grid for 72 hours after the storm passes. Given the additional stressors placed on our Emergency Management Systems and first responders by COVID-19 Ops you may want to plan for a couple extra days. Due to the COVID-19, FEMA recommended preparing for as much as two weeks, if possible.
  • You would want to have plenty of potable drinking water on hand, as the public water system could become contaminated or fail completely, use one gallon per person per day as a guide. Think of filling up empty containers, such as plastic milk jugs, as well as bottled water.
  • You will need plenty of non-perishable food on hand, i.e. canned or freeze dried food products, for you, your family, and your pets.
  •  If you don’t have a backup generator I would caution against keeping large stores of frozen meat products on hand, if we lose power for an extended period of time, freezers full of meat can become a bio hazard very quickly
  • It is always good to ensure you have a full bottle of propane for your grill or camp stove as commercial electrical power may be out, and this will provide you a way to cook your food.
  • If you have backup generators it is time to perform your annual ops check and preventative maintenance checks.
  • Ensure you have enough gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel on hand to run your generator for at least three days.
  • Don’t run your portable backup generator out of your garage or living room, the carbon dioxide fumes can kill you.
  •  Have a few sets of spare batteries for your flashlights or portable lighting devices, take a few minutes and ensure they work.
  • Keep you cell phone charged and have a plan to recharge during a power outage.
  • Glow sticks also come in handy.
  • Ensure you have your important documents packed and in a water tight container whether you evacuate or shelter in place; this is just a good practice.
  • Make it a point to keep the fuel tank in your vehicle or vehicles topped off with fuel and ensure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition during hurricane season.  Ensure you have good tires, brakes and a working AC system. Nothing like getting stuck in a hurricane evacuation traffic jam with a car full of kids, pets and no AC on a 90 degree day with 90 percent humidity and no breeze; it will surely be a memorable event.
  • Think through your evacuation plan including and new limiting factors brought on by current Covid-19 restrictions in the states your traveling through.
  • Keep your supervisors informed on where you are going and let them know when you get there or if you have trouble along the way. Ensure you have an updated recall roster with you in case you are unable to reach your supervisor you can move on to the next element of command. Evacuation is not without risks and good communication is critical during the trip.
  • Some of you may want to evacuate early to get out of the storm’s path and move to a safe location; in this case you may need less supplies than someone planning on riding out the storm. You may choose to invest the majority of your time and effort into building an evacuation fund, shuttering your home, and planning the route you will use to get your family to safety.
  • Please keep in mind even if your plan is to shelter in place always be prepared to get out town if the storm strengthens or storm track predications go astray.
  • Many of you reading this are active duty members, you need to make sure your plans ensure the safety of your family regardless of whether you are there to help execute the plan or not.
  • I hope this provided you with some food for thought. Being prepared for the arrival of a hurricane is an essential part of living on the Emerald Coast and a well thought out plan will relieve some stress from your life so you and or your family can stop worrying about hurricanes and enjoy the many wonderful outdoor activities that living in Florida affords you.