It's a good idea to have a reinforced safe room in your house, but if you can't afford one, substitute a windowless low-level area or room instead. Stay away from windows and doors, and shove stuff up against external doors to help prevent them from being blown open and letting in dangerous debris. Shut all inside doors, and take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture with a battery-powered radio nearby to listen for updates.
During the storm, you should avoid using your phone as much as possible, unless it's for a critical cause. Stay inside until you receive official word that the hurricane has passed -- no getting fooled by the eye of the storm!
After the storm passes, be very careful where you go -- structures can be dangerous and heavy rainfall can continue for some time. Stay away from downed power lines and report any you see. If you've evacuated, return home only when officials declare it safe, and take serious precautions as you inspect any damage to your home and document it for insurance purposes. (This is why you brought along a camera.)
Don't trust tap water (until you're told otherwise by officials), and be wary of potentially spoiled food. Your freezer and refrigerator should be opened as little as possible until the power is back on, and if you're not sure about an item, junk it.
With a little luck, by following these tips, the hurricane will have gone easy on your property and possessions, and all the people (and furry friends) in your life will make it through unharmed.
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More Great Links
- "Are You Ready?" Federal Emergency Management Center. (8/2/2010) http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/index.shtm
- "Hurricane Preparedness." National Hurricane Center. (8/2/2010) http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/disaster_prevention.shtml
- "Hurricane Preparedness." American Red Cross. (8/2/2010) http://www.hurricane.alabama.gov/HurricanePreparednessGuide.pdf
- "Hurricane Safety Checklist." American Red Cross. (8/2/2010) http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.53fabf6cc033f17a2b1ecfbf43181aa0/?vgnextoid=53f0779a32ecb110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD& currPage=11a0779a32ecb110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD
- "Hurricane Safety Tips." New York State Emergency Management Office. (8/2/2010) http://www.semo.state.ny.us/info/publicsafety/hurricaneprepare.cfm
- "NOAA: 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook" National Weather Service. May 27, 2010. (8/2/2010) http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml
When Mother Nature is at her worst, the government steps in to move masses of people away from the coasts. HowStuffWorks looks at how it's done.