Run from the Water, Hide from the Wind

The Hurricane season usually lasts from June 1 through to November 30 and it can be a nerve-racking time for everyone. Hurricanes are not only a concern for those whose homes are in the path of one, but for relatives and friends who may worry about those people. Preparedness is not just essential for dealing with the physical challenges of hurricane season, but having a plan will help you and your loved ones keep their peace of mind during this stressful time. Last week we experienced what can be called a mild tropical storm in Chantal but in there you obviously saw the potential danger of a major storm. If you were not prepared for Chantal, it is never too late to get ready. The season is just six weeks old and usually things heat up in September.

Once You Hear a Hurricane May Be Coming Your Way:

  • Keep in mind that many hurricanes are slow travellers. Once you hear about it, chances are you have several days to finalize your plans. Be careful, though; some hurricanes travel very fast.
  • Be sure to gather food and water, because a hurricane may last for a while. Canned food is the only kind acceptable for an event such as a hurricane; again, make sure the food is fresh.
  • Cook all raw meats in your refrigerator and freeze them. They will help keep the other food cold and you can take them out one at a time for meals that do not require cooking. If you decide to stay at home, fill up the bathtub. An average bathtub full of water holds enough water for about three days. It also makes it possible to flush the toilet using a bucket.
  • Make sure you fill water containers. An average person needs about one gallon per day. Pets (dogs) need about 1.75L of water per day. Cats need much less water.
  • Make sure that you have a BBQ and lots of charcoal or propane so that you can cook and heat foods for meals. Small propane bottles can also serve as heat and light sources.
  • Put all the ice that you have in your freezer into plastic bags. Fill all spaces in your freezer with bags of ice. Freeze water bottles, too.
  • Be sure you are well supplied with any prescription drugs that you or your family take on a regular basis. This can be a daunting task as some pharmacies will not honour refills until the last refill is nearly used up or has run out. If necessary, drugs must be purchased; weeks may go by without the ability to get refills, putting your health (or even your life) at risk.
  • Put all of your valuables into clear plastic bags or high off the floor. This should further insure that they stay dry in case of flooding.
  • Stay on top of the news. How often you watch the Weather Channel is up to you, but if you start to feel overwhelmed or panicky, turn it off. You can always turn the news back on when you feel better. Ask a trusted neighbour to let you know when a hurricane will likely head your way so you can be informed when news watching is absolutely vital. It may be a good idea to evacuate your area beforehand, since traffic will be a problem during a mandatory evacuation order.
  • Decide whether or not you will evacuate. It's best to get out of town before it becomes mandatory, or even recommended. If you wait until the last minute, an hour will have passed before you get out. Inform your family and friends about your decision. They will rest easier if they know what you plan to do and why.