Hurricane Preparedness for the Neighborhood

Between having a grandfather that worked at the National Hurricane Center and being an insurance agent for the last 8 years, I've learned a lot about hurricanes and have experienced them first hand. I’m familiar with tracking storms, boarding up windows, and even bagging up all the debris. Now that we’re just a week away from June 1st, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, it’s never too early to prepare ourselves and our neighbors.
So how can you get your neighborhood prepared for a storm? Here are some great tips I’ve learned over the years:
Establish a neighborhood phone tree. You may live in a really friendly neighborhood like I do, but I honestly don’t know all the names or phone numbers of my neighbors. Before a storm is on it’s way, create a list of your neighbors names and contact information. Then use it to create a phone tree. A phone tree system is where someone contacts a small group of people when an emergency arises. Then those people each commit to passing the news to another small group of people. This is a great way to check on each other, especially elderly residents that may be living alone.
Create a neighborhood meeting place. This can be a community center, church, or any other place in your neighborhood that is easily accessible for most people. This is a great way to communicate with each other face-to-face when electricity may be out or phone lines are down.
Make a storm kit. This is a kit that contains several items that can be essential when weathering a hurricane. Here’s what to keep in your kit:
– Week supply of bottled water. One gallon per person, per day.
– Canned and dry food that with not perish without electricity.
– Can opener.
– Battery-powered radio. If the power goes out and you can’t charge your cell phone, you need another way to stay in the know.
– Solar power cell phone chargers. Who knew such a thing exists? Such a good resource during a storm!
– Flashlights and back-up batteries. Battery-powered lanterns are good too.
– Extra 2-week supply of medications.
– Cooler. If the power goes out, this will be a great supply to hold ice!
– Generators are awesome if you can afford them.
– The first few days without power, cook meals with your neighbors. During Ike, we shared perishables, such as meat that was in the freezer, and cooked it up before it had time to go bad. We made coffee on our grill in the mornings.
It’s best to prepare for a storm before one is eminent and everyone is scrambling for supplies. Hopefully we won’t experience a storm this year, but it’s never a bad thing for yourself and your neighborhood to be prepared in case you do. So before the season kicks in, have a chat with your neighbors about how you can collectively prepare for a hurricane.
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