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How to Prepare for a Hurricane (Must-Have Plans & Supplies)

Hurricanes are deadly, and the intensity of such a strong and violent wind cyclone is both scary and sobering. If you learn how to prepare for a hurricane, you can alleviate some stress and concern when it comes to experiencing Mother Nature at full force.

According to CDC.gov, the Atlantic hurricane season falls between June 1 and November 20 every year, but you can take steps now to ensure your family’s safety before the next storm strikes.

atlantic hurricane season

Don’t wait until the first warning signs; keep reading and learn how to prepare for a hurricane—and safeguard your future.

Contents

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

The number one step in learning how to prepare for a hurricane is gathering the essential survival gear. Your survival kit should be both thorough and exhaustive, ready on standby to handle anything a hurricane throws your way.

With so many unexpected twists and turns sent from such a powerful wind force, figuring out how to prepare for a hurricane can be challenging. You need to pack a bug out bag—a bag that contains everything that could be necessary during a natural disaster’s worst case scenario.

To prepare for a hurricane, your bug out bag should be carefully packed and at hand for when the first warning hits. If you’re wondering what supplies you should have on-hand, refer to this hurricane preparedness checklist:

Hurricane Emergency Kit Essentials

  • Crank radio - A crank radio is standard in hurricane preparedness kits. It may seem outdated, but it could become an essential source of information once the power goes out. With no electricity at your disposal, you’ll need a device that can fuel itself in order to receive outside communication.
  • Walkie-Talkie - The chances of cell towers being damaged in the event of a hurricane are high, meaning that phone calls and text messages are unlikely to go through. A set of walkie-talkies will enable you to contact family members or signal for help.
  • Light sources - When the water and wind take out the electricity, you’ll need a way to see. Invest in light sources such as flashlights and/or headlamps to safely maneuver about, but don’t forget the batteries.
  • Chem lights - Whereas other light sources may require power, chem lights—or glow sticks—produce a chemiluminescence and don’t require external energy. They’re also helpful for illuminating large spaces versus a direct line of sight.
  • Flotation device - Flotation devices are mandatory on your hurricane preparedness checklist. If you find yourself surrounded by steadily rising water, something that floats can be critical in the prevention of drowning.
  • First Aid supplies - In the event that you or someone in your family is injured within the hurricane’s destructive path, it’s imperative that your survival kit contain first aid items. Depending on the conditions, help could be far away, and these medical supplies could save lives.
  • Tarp or Tent - You might need immediate shelter, so include a tarp or tent within your bug out bag. It’ll help keep you warm, dry, and protected against the brutal winds as the hurricane runs its course.
  • Paracord - Paracord has hundreds of uses , and is one of the most versatile items on your hurricane preparedness checklist. This rope is lightweight but incredibly strong, and useful for instantly handling nature’s emergencies.
  • At least 72 hours of rations - A storm surge could cause such extensive flooding and structural damage that it might be impossible to leave your home for food. Most survival scenarios are resolved within 72 hours, so have enough rations on hand for you and your family to stay nourished within that time.
  • Water Filter and Container - Just because there’s plenty of water surrounding you doesn’t mean that it’s safe to drink. If you know how to prepare for a hurricane, then you understand the need for a water containment and filtration system at hand which will help keep you hydrated.
  • Mess Kit - Not only will you need a container for clean water, but you’ll find that a cooking pot is primordial for survival. Be sure to procure a mess kit—or an assortment of cooking and eating utensils—while learning how to prepare for a hurricane.

Instead of running through a hurricane preparedness checklist and worrying over whether you have the supplies necessary to survive a natural disaster, count on the SEVENTY2 backpack. We’ll save you a step in learning how to prepare for a hurricane by providing you with all the essential gear you could need.

With peace of mind that you have the gear you need, you can focus your attention on what really matters: following the steps behind hurricane preparedness in order to avoid an extreme survival scenario altogether.

Pre-Hurricane Preparation Timeline

If you’re wondering how to prepare for a hurricane, you should know that proactive preparation falls along a time frame.

As a tropical storm inches closer to land, it can build enough strength and momentum to turn into a hurricane, so you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on its development as it progresses.

Learning how to prepare for a tropical storm is less critical, but if the storm upgrades into a hurricane, you could be in for some serious hazards. Depending on what category the hurricane is, the damage from sustained winds and storm surge can be catastrophic and widespread.

The National Weather Service broadcasts hurricane warnings and you can receive direct alerts from the Emergency Alert System (EAS), as well. Sign up for your local community’s alert system so you’ll know the first moment you need to begin following this hurricane preparedness plan:

Hurricane Preparedness 36 Hour Countdown

  • Keep the SEVENTY2 backpack or your homemade bug out bag at hand. If you’re low on batteries or First Aid materials, now’s the time to re-up.
  • Utilize resources such as the television, internet, and radio to get the latest storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Discuss plans with your family regarding your evacuation route and zone, in addition to learning where shelter locations are. Now is the time to pack up the car with necessary supplies and to double check if it’s filled up with gas. If you’re unsure what to pack, refer to Hurricanesafety.org.
  • One hurricane preparedness tip for those who have tall trees, is to take the time to trim away any foliage which could fall and create structural damage.
  • Learn how to prepare for a hurricane and research the proper way to cover all of your home’s windows with storm shutters or plywood.
  • Secure loose, lightweight objects—such as patio furniture and garbage cans—which could become projectiles in high winds, or bring them inside to safety.
  • Check in with local websites for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions. Ready.gov stresses the importance of following these directions; if you’re ordered to evacuate, do so.

During evacuation, only bring the items you need, remembering to include cash, identification, and necessary medications. Unplug small appliances and turn off the electricity and water (gas requires a professional). Always follow directed evacuation routes, as other roads may be blocked.

Never, ever ignore an evacuation order—that’s the surest way to find yourself in an emergency survival scenario. As you learn about hurricane preparedness, let this be your number one takeaway.

Hurricane Preparedness 18 Hour Countdown

  • It may be raining onshore by this point; if so, place sandbags along your home’s exterior in order to dispel water.
  • At about 18 hours, you’ll need to start checking for updates on your phone every 30 minutes for the latest weather warnings. Leave the phone charging to extend its lifespan for when the power shuts off.
  • Remember to follow any and all safety instructions and to evacuate whenever necessary.

Hurricane Preparedness: 6 Hour Countdown

  • By the time the hurricane is within 6 hours of landfall near your area, you should know whether or not you have to evacuate. If you’re not instructed to leave, stay where you are.
  • Remain inside, or you could be injured by debris in the wind. Strong hurricanes can turn random objects into deadly projectiles.

category 3 hurricanes or higher

  • Once indoors, close all hurricane storm shutters and steer clear of windows, which have the potential to shatter.
  • Turn off your utilities and switch your refrigerator down to its lowest setting. Open the door as little as possible in order to preserve your perishable food.
  • Fill the bathtub with clean water so that you’ll know you have a sanitary water supply on reserve.
  • If the power is still on, continue to check in with the news in order to stay on top of weather updates.

Hurricane Preparedness: Once it Hits

  • Learning how to prepare for a hurricane should help you stay calm once it hits. Remember to remain sheltered inside, away from doors and windows.
  • Keep your survival supplies on hand while you’re bunkered down and wait for the storm to pass.

If you’re interested in information on what to do when a hurricane hits, read more here. You can also consult the Federal Emergency Management Agency at FEMA.gov for advice on how to protect you and your home during and after a hurricane.

These powerful storms maybe terrifying, but they don’t have to be life-threatening. With the right survival gear, plan, and hurricane preparedness in place, you’ll be equipped to survive any caliber of this natural disaster.