By Daisy Luther
The East Coast is bracing for a hurricane that may rival the ferocity of Superstorm Sandy. Hurricane Joaquin is expected to reach Category 4 proportions today, as it gains strength in the Bahamas.
Current projections have it heading due north, and it’s predicted to make landfall in the US this weekend.
If you happen to live in South Carolina, North Caroline, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, you’re likely to get hit, particularly in the coastal regions.
When you’re thinking about how to prepare for an event like this, it’s best to look back in history at what went wrong. The good news is, today is Thursday. There’s time to place some orders or purchase some items if you find that you are missing vital preps. Here are the things you need to do RIGHT NOW if you are in the path of the storm and prepping for a hurricane. Click the links for more in-depth information on each topic.
1.) Evacuate early
If you have a nice beachfront property, this is not the weekend to spend time there. Make plans now to evacuate inland if this is your full-time residence. For the love of all things cute and fluffy, don’t plan on evacuating just as the storm hits. You want to leave before a mandatory evacuation is called for. The East Coast, especially as you go north, is highly populated, and you do NOT want to be stuck in traffic when the wrath of the storm strikes. Leave early.
Fill your vehicle with gas prior to the storm. If you had planned to hunker down but your house suffers damage that makes that impossible, you may have difficulty acquiring fuel in the midst or aftermath of the storm. Have important documents and bug out supplies ready to go. When you leave your home during a natural disaster, there is always the horrible chance that you could come back to nothing but rubble. Figure out the things that are most dear to you, and have them packed up. (This article is about a wildfire evacuation, but the list of things to pack are valid for any disaster.)
2.) Secure your property
If you live in the danger zone, take some steps to secure your property. Fit windows with plywood covers, stow outdoor furniture in the garage, and scan your yard for anything that might become a projectile if high winds occur. If you don’t have a garage, bring things inside or secure them to a tree. (This article has great advice about securing your home.)
Not only do you have mother nature to worry about, but also the hoodlums that take advantage of disasters. During the dark days after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, looters ran amok. After 72 hours without power, New York City was in a state of utter chaos. Be prepared to protect your home and family should it become necessary.
3.) Be prepared for an extended power outage
During the last megastorm to hit the East Coast, power was out for weeks. Sewer systems overflowed and backed up into people’s homes. Residents of high-rise buildings defecated in the hallways. Food rotted in refrigerators. New York City was pitch black for days.
Fill coolers with ice while you’re waiting to see whether the power goes out so that you can extend the longevity of the food in your fridge and freezer. Have on hand some emergency food buckets that require only boiling water to serve up a tasty, comforting, hot meal. (Don’t get the ones loaded with MSG and genetically modified foods – check out these buckets for healthier options.)
Prep with light sources, an off-grid cooking method, food that doesn’t require cooking, hygiene items that don’t rely on running water, and a way to use the bathroom should the sewer system be affected like it was the last time.
For more information, this post goes into prepping for a power outage in far more detail.
Make sure you have a heat source
It’s usually pretty cold in the aftermath of a storm like this, and if the power goes out, you want to be sure you stay cozy and warm. If you have no off-grid heat source like a fireplace or woodstove, consider picking up a propane heater that is safe for indoor use. We have a Mr. Buddy heater for this purpose. Here are some tips for keeping warm if you have no heat source.
Use this as a starting point
If your master survival plan is to wait for the government to feed and care for you, you’re going to get awfully hungry. The ball was dropped in response to Hurricane Katrina to the extent that it took four long days for any assistance to arrive. Who can forget the video of the hysterical woman after Superstorm Sandy, begging for help? (In case you did forget, here it is:)
If you aren’t a prepper, hopefully, this will be enough to open your eyes to the need for some emergency planning. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless in the midst of a crisis. By preparing, you are ensuring the safety and peace of mind of your loved ones.
- Grab this book – it’s the very best one for making an overall preparedness plan.
- Grab this book and start building a pantry to help you through any crisis.
- Grab this book and learn about water preparedness. It’s incredibly vital anc costs far less than you might think.
It’s far better to have your supplies in place before the storm is on its way. While you can always do a rushed stock-up at the last minute, you risk missing out on important supplies as you battle everyone else who has the same idea. It doesn’t take long for store shelves to be emptied of bottled water, batteries, and shelf stable items.
For those of you who have lived through a hurricane before, what advice can you give people to help them get prepared? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.