Staying Safe During and After Hurricanes


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With the Atlantic Hurricane Season at its most active point this year, it is important now more that ever to be prepared and know what to do if a hurricane were to hit.  What do I have to worry about as a resident in Florida? Many of things: winds, rain, debris, downed power lines, and much more. Hurricanes are gigantic buzzsaws of pimped up anger able to drop feet of rain in twenty-four hours, and winds upwards of 200 MPH

Homestead Fl 1992, morinig after Hurricane Andrew.

Andrew leveled the town of Homestead while it was a catagory 5 storm, an anomaly  as it was so early in the season August 16th – 28th, 1992. The storm had susstained winds of 167 MPH and max susstained winds of 175 stripping most buildings to their concrete foundations. The storm was the costliest and destructive hurricane until Hurricane Katrina surpassed it in 2005 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. In total Andrew costed $27.3 billion, destroyed 63,000+ homes, and took the lives of 65 people.  After the storm the Florida legislation passed the state-wide building code act and abolished the ablity for local juristictons and governments to issue codes the were weaker then the state mandated ones. Scared yet? Well you shouldn’t be as Andrew doesn’t rank in the top 30 worst hurricanes according to the National Huriicane Center (NHC) in 2015

The DO’s and DON’Ts of hurricane preparedness

DO stock up on food, water, and first-aid/medications.

When a hurricane is imminate (about 7 days out) go stock up on non-parrishable foods and water. Keep these items in a safe and dry location until they are needed. If you or a loved-one needs / requires medication get extra bottles to keep in a medication container (If you or a loved-one requires cold medications get extras about 5 days in advance and keep them cold till the night of the storm and put them in a cooler.). Make sure your first-aid kit (if you have one) is up to date and fully stocked as utilities may be turned off by your municiaplaites such as water and gas increesing the likely hood of an infection.

DO bord up windows and doors with wood / metal

During a hurricane winds can surpass 150 MPH for minutes on end enough to easily break off tree lims, or other light-ish debris and turn them into super deadly projectiles. Make sure that your windows are boarded up with 1/2″ or better ply-wood or 1/4″ metal shutters. Even if no debris hit your windows does not mean they won’t break any wind gusts powerful enough will shatter the glass in your windows and the shards that form and can be thrown, may serveraly hurt or kill someone. Don’t forget about doors either as they can be forced open by debris or wind even if locked, on outward swinging doors the chance of this happening is reduced but not eliminated as doors and borken down. Be sure to use beams of wood and not boards so if you need to get out you can. And don’t stand near windows when the storm is happening.

DO get a radio or OTA television antenna

Yea Yea I’ve got a weather radio but what is an OTA antenna thingy? An OTA or Over The Air antenna is designed to pick up television signals similar to how the antenna on your car recives AM/FM radio. Okay why do i need one? In the event of a huricane power and subsequent cable TV lines and be severed cutting off your ability to stay up-to-date on whats happening. No you won’t be able to watch that B-Movie or your favorie cable TV stations but the “Big 3” NBC, CBS, and ABC all have local stations the broadcast over the air 24/7. So if your power fails and you have a generator going to keep the juice on you can still watch the local weather to see what is happening. And on the point of weather radios, make sure you have a NOAA approved radio as those radios are able to recive weather specific updates as well as AM/FM stations. And if you stream everything to your mobile device / computer some service providers and manufacturers have built in weather updates so you wont be surprised when Stranger Things is inturpted by your house flying away, you’ll get a heads up before then.

DO get a generator

Power is the #1 utility to fail during and after a storm, so it is important to keep the lights on after a hurricane passes and a fan or two as well. How do I find the generator right for me? Glad you asked. Generators are measured by the watts they can produce with the standard run-of-the-mill generator outputting about 3500 watts enough to run a few lights, a television, and fridge. Generatord also can be classified by fuel and type of generator it is. In the gasoline catagory there are recreational generators, portable generators, and stand-by generators. In the Propane (LP) / natural gas (NG) catagory there are portable generators (LP), and whole-home stand-by generators (NG). Some are even dual-fuel accepting BOTH gasoline and LP.

 

DON’T use tape to board up windows

NEVER use tape to keep glass safe as it can make the broken glass bigger and more deadly. As this video by The Weather Channel shows tape does not help during a hurricane.

Weather Channel, YouTube

DON’T use a gasoline generator in your house

This may seem obvious, however many people still do use a generator in their houses. After the storm passes the number one cause of death is carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. Gas generators are just like cars as they burn gasoline for fuel, this burnt fuel needs somewhere to go and it is exhausted through the generators exhaust port (tail pipe on a car.), dumping carbon monoxide into the surrounding air. You wouldn’t breath in the exhaust from your car would you? Don’t answer that. If you really need to use a generator in your house USE a propane (LP) generator as it burns clean. Propane is the same fuel you use on a gas grill for cooking. Making it safe to use indoors for generators or even grilling although I don’t recommend the latter.

 

If you follow all of these steps and use your common sense you  and your family can stay safe during any hurricane that will come through.

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Staying Safe During and After Hurricanes