Barry, Dorian, Humberto and Jerry. These are not the members of a new boy band. These are the names of hurricanes that have so far formed during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. They are four reasons why should take hurricane preparedness tips for homesteaders seriously.
A man was found dead in the waters of Panama City Beach when Hurricane Barry Hit Florida. Hurricane Humberto wreaked havoc in Bermuda though no casualties have been reported. Jerry has so far been the nicest of the four brothers. It’s currently downgraded to a Category 1 storm after reaching Category 2 status a while back.
It’s a different story with Hurricane Dorian. The first major hurricane this season, Dorian is the most devastating tropical cyclone to ever hit the Bahamas. Fifty-five people died while around 1,300 more are missing.
And then there’s Imelda. She’s technically not a hurricane but Tropical Storm Imelda surprised Texas and Louisiana with heavy rainfall causing floods. Sadly, at least two people have died while over 1,000 people needed to be evacuated.
If you live in a homestead, your house and the rest of your property are pretty much exposed to hurricanes. To avoid substantial damage and to keep your family safe, you should take these hurricane preparedness tips for homesteaders to heart.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Homesteaders
Hurricane preparedness begins well before hurricane season. You do not want to be caught unprepared when a hurricane or any other calamity decides to drop by. Act now or be sorry.
Stock Up On Supplies
Food, water and other essentials are, well, essential for you to survive hurricanes and other emergency situations. It’s not safe to go out during a hurricane to get something to eat. That’s pretty foolish. If you have a well-stocked pantry, sustenance shouldn’t be an issue.
Power and water supplies are often affected by hurricanes. That means your fridge will be useless until things go back to normal. This is why you should stock up on non-perishable food. In case you have raw meat and other perishables when the power goes out, make sure you consume them first.
Build Your Emergency Kit
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a hurricane prone area or not, you should have an emergency kit at home. An emergency kit should contain all the possible survival gear and supplies you’ll need to make it out alive during and after a disaster strikes.
Light sources such as the Vekkia Ultra Bright 160 Lumens CREE LED Headlamp are necessary. Headlamps let you use both hands in the dark. The light beam on this particular one can reach up to 262 feet at a 45 degree angle. The IPX6 water resistant Vekkia headlamp comes with five different light settings including Night Vision and a Flashing SOSO Mode, which is necessary to signal for help.
When power goes out, your electric stove and ovens will be of no use. Invest on a camping stove like the Pocket Stove Folding Camping Stove with Hex Fuel Tablets by Frog & CO so you can still cook and boil water.
Your hurricane emergency kit should include emergency whistles, signal mirrors, and other ways to get help. The Guardian 5-In-1 Survival Whistle is not just a whistle. It also has a built-in compass, mirror, fire starter, and a waterproof container.
An emergency kit is not complete without a first aid kit. The Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit includes 200 medical items including gauze, ointment, medicines, scissors, tweezers, and splints among others.
(Related: Top Storm Survival Gear You Need)
Prepare Your Bug Out Bags
Aside from your hurricane emergency kit, you should have bug out bags ready. Each member of the household should have one, even the pets.
You can build your own bug out bag from scratch or purchase pre-arranged ones. The latter comes with most of the basic survival gear and supplies readily available. The Emergency Zone Urban Survival Bug Out Bag is a good example. The discrete backpack hides supplies that will last six days for one person and three days for two people.
Once you are told to evacuate, it should be automatic for everyone to grab their grab their BOBs. There should be a separate grab bag or emergency kit in your car in case you all fail to bring your BOBs. Your car emergency kit should include items needed to keep your vehicle going.
The Pocket Jumper Pro Car & Truck Jump Starter by Frog & CO, for example, is a great device to have when your car won’t start. You should also have spare tire, car tools, air pump, emergency light, early warning device, car escape tool, foldable shovel, and a small fire extinguisher among others. Also, make sure your tank is filled with fuel all the time.
Create An Evacuation Plan
You should be ready for anything including leaving your home to find a safer place to ride out the storm. Build an emergency plan that includes specific instructions on what to do when you have to evacuate.
Designate a task to each member of the household. Who’s going to get Grandma and Grandpa? How about the pets? Who will make sure the gas lines are turned off? Who’s going to drive the car and who’s going to sit where? Take time to discuss everything with the family so there’ll be no loopholes to your plan.
You need a meet-up point and a bug out shelter. Meet-up points are where you gather if someone is not at home when disaster strikes. A bug out shelter is where you need to go when you have to evacuate your home. If you don’t have one, make arrangements with an out-of-state relative or friend to stay in their place during emergencies. You should have their numbers so you can call them when necessary.
In case you can’t stay anywhere, you’ll be forced to join other people in evacuation centers or open shelters. While you’ll be safe from the storm, these places could be quite uncomfortable plus the risk of colds and other diseases spreading is pretty high.
Aside from the food and water in your bug out bags, you should also have supplies in your bug out shelter or with the family you’ll be staying with.
Another aspect of your evacuation plan is the route or routes you can take. By now, everyone should know how to exit your home during emergencies. Once you get in your vehicle, you should know where to go and how to get there. Be wary of all the open shelters you can go to so you have options in case you can’t reach the nearest one.
Learn about the evacuation plans of the local government. This should give you a better idea on how to make yours. Plus, as Homestead Survival Site stressed, the community may help provide materials to help keep your property safe.
Finally, practice your plan. If you practice your evacuation plan regularly, everything will automatically come to you when a hurricane does come. This will help keep everyone from panicking, which is a big no-no during emergencies.
Your insurance policies should include protection from hurricane and flood. Make sure you have a copy in a waterproof container, which should be in your bug out bag or emergency shelter. Take photos of your property before the storm hits to help you with damage claim.
Store Cash and Important Documents Properly
Aside from your insurance policies, you should keep copies of birth certificates and other important documents you can think of in a waterproof pouch. Include photos of the whole family, each member, pets and other animals, and your property.
Urban Survival Site suggests getting plenty of cash. Your cards will be if no use if there’s no electricity so you’ll be using cash until power is back. Keep some cash stashed away from emergencies. You can place some in your waterproof case so they won’t get wet. Another option is to withdraw money before the hurricane hits.
Secure the Entry Doors
Entry doors can be blown off by strong winds. Make sure this never happens by adding bolts on the top and bottom of the doors. While you’re at it, secure the door frames by adding screws at least three inches long. This will further prevent the door and frame from being blown off while also keeping your home secure from intruders.
Last-Minute Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Even if you’ve done all the homestead hurricane preparedness tips above, you still need to do some last-minute tasks to make sure everyone and everything will be safe.
Secure the Roof
Invest on hurricane straps or clips so you can secure your roof right before the hurricane comes. Strong winds can blow your roof off if they’re not properly secured.
Board the Windows and Glass Doors
Glass windows are prone to damage because of the strong winds. Board them up to prevent flying debris from breaking the windows and hurting your family.
There are window shutters available commercially. You can also have them customized to fit your windows. The cheaper option is to use thick plywood to cover your windows and sliding doors. Use long screws so they’re sturdier and easier to remove after the storm.
Lock All Entryways
You’ve already added locks and secured the door frames with longer screws as suggested above. Just make sure you close and all the doors and windows before the storm hits. If you have a garage door, it’s important that you reinforce it. Garage doors are one of the weakest points of a home. In fact, there have been cases where houses were destroyed after strong wind took out the garage door.
Ideally, you should always keep your trees and shrubs trimmed so they’re more pleasing to the eyes. When there’s a hurricane warning, however, you should trim them immediately. The combination of rain or flood and strong winds can damage or even uproot trees.
Go around your property and collect every loose item you can find and place them in a secure area. Garbage cans, ladders, rakes and other stuff you normally leave outside can potentially be like missiles during a hurricane. Clean the gutters on your roof as well as the downspouts.
Secure Large Items and Attached Structures
There are things you can’t simply pick up and hide somewhere such as heavy yard furniture. Tie them down. Check the porch, sheds, carport, and outhouse if you have them. They may need to be secured.
Keep Your Animals Safe
Chances are high that you have lots of animals in your homestead. Makes sure they’re safe when the hurricane hits.
Bring the smaller animals inside your home. It’s great if you have a particular space in your house that you convert into a sort of animal shelter in case of emergencies. You can also use cages, crates, and cardboard boxes.
For the larger animals like horses and cows, keep them in a barn or any structure provided it’s strong enough to endure strong winds. Board the windows and secure the doors. Check the whole structure for areas that need repair and reinforcement. Remove or tie down objects that can become projectiles. Also, make sure the animals won’t drown in case of a flood.
Aside from their safety, you also need to secure food and water for the animals. You may also need specific medicines or medical supplies in case they get hurt.
Check this out for a more thorough guide on what to do with particular animals to prepare them for disasters.
(Related: How to Prepare Dogs For Disasters)
Unplug all unnecessary devices and electrical appliances. The only things you’ll need plugged in are your refrigerator and probably the TV to watch the news. You should also charge all your phones, tablets, rechargeable lights, and other emergency devices. But once the hurricane is in the vicinity, unplug all of them.
Invest on power banks and solar chargers so you can still charge your phones while the power is out. The Easypower Solar Power Bank 2.0 by Frog & CO is an ideal survival gadget to have for emergencies. The water-resistant and shockproof solar power bank comes with built-in flashlight, compass, and carabiner.
The K-Tor Pocket Socket Hand Crank Generator is another portable gadget that you can use to charge other small USB devices. It’s hand crank so you don’t need electricity for it to work.
If you have to evacuate, place all your gadgets in a waterproof bag. The HydroStop Lightweight Dry Bag by Frog & CO will keep your phones and other important stuff dry and functioning.
Pay attention to the news. Whenever a weather disturbance is spotted, you should stay on your toes. Stay tuned to weather reports on the TV or the radio. Make sure you have a NOAA weather radio at home. These radios give out alerts whenever the weather turns bad.
Obviously, you need to stay inside your home to stay safe from the hurricane. However, there are still some people who go out in the middle of the storm to check on something or for whatever reason they have. The reason why you should prepare your homestead before a hurricane hits is to avoid leaving the safety of your home.
In case you’re outside when the hurricane hits, find a shelter immediately. Stay away from streets and other areas where you are exposed to flying debris. Avoid rivers, as well. The water can suddenly rise and sweep you away.
It’ll be pretty cold during a hurricane. Wear warm clothes and cover yourself with wool blankets. Make sure you have emergency blankets and body warmers, as well. They’ll be useful when you’re at a shelter.
There are more hurricane preparedness tips for homesteaders out there, Do your due diligence and learn everything you can. The safety of your loved ones and your property depends on it. You can find more about disaster preparedness over at Gentleman Pirate Club. Go check it out.
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