Article – Preparing for Hurricane Season

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Image source: By Nilfanion [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image source: By Nilfanion [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. The map shows the tracks of all tropical cyclones which formed worldwide from 1985 to 2005.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. While the 2014 season is expected to be a mild one, mild doesn’t mean storm-free. Getting ready early is a good idea—and early preparation means long before a storm watch or warning has been issued and store shelves are emptied of supplies.

Here’s what to do.

Have a plan. Sit down with a map and mark local evacuation routes. Establish a central meeting place and make sure all family members know to go there in case you are separated or everyone is not at home when an evacuation order is issued.

Buy supplies. Load a plastic storage container with enough food to last your family for at least three days. Items to include: gallon bottles of water and canned goods that don’t require cooking. For babies, add a supply of diapers, formula, and bottles. For elderly relatives, remember prescription medications. Pack food for pets.

What else should you add to your hurricane box? A manual can opener, a hand-crank radio, flashlights with extra batteries, garbage bags, toilet paper, sanitary wipes, and a first aid kit. Stock the first aid kit with pain relievers, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, a thermometer, allergy medication, and scissors.

Prepare your vehicle. Fill a bag, backpack, or storage box with jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, a hand-size first aid kit, comfortable shoes, hoodies for cool weather, and sleeping bags or blankets.

If you feel stocking up on items you may not need is wasteful, think of this: you buy insurance to protect yourself against catastrophes such as house fires or car accidents. Being prepared for a hurricane or other disaster is simply another insurance policy to keep your family safe in an emergency. In addition, buying food and equipment has one advantage over a regular insurance policy: you can donate whatever you haven’t used to a charitable organization at the end of hurricane season.

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