Hurricane Tips 1 pdf

Getting Ready for a Hurricane

Hurricanes are a fact of life in the Caribbean. They occur every year and it is difficult to predict when or where they will strike. Even when a hurricane has formed meteorologists cannot always predict accurately how they will behave or where they will go. It is important to think through preparations and be ready should one threaten the place where we live.

Internet Sites that Track Hurricanes

www.wunderground.com/tropical

www.hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane 

www.forecast.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/shadow/tracker/dynamic/main

Hurricane Scale Category 1   74-95 mph
Category 2   96-110 mph
Category 3   111-130 mph
Category 4   131-155 mph
Category 5   155+ mph
Early Preparations
  • Insure your home and the contents. If you are renting, then insure the contents (furniture, appliances, clothes, etc.).
  • Take pictures of your home and major appliances before the storm comes.
  • Make a list of your possessions and keep that list in a plastic sleeve where it will not get wet.
  • Make shutters for the windows of your home. While many windows can withstand wind to some degree, windows will shatter when struck by flying debris and inside your home will then be exposed to the full strength of the hurricane.
  • Have flashlights and batteries available for each member of the family.
  • Make a family disaster plan—where you will meet in the event that you’re separated, if you will go to a hurricane shelter or stay at home, identify a safe room, etc.
  • Obtain a charger for your Cellphone that can charge the Cellphone from the cigarette lighter of your car.
  • If you are on regular medication, make arrangements with your doctor and pharmacist for you to have access to a month’s supply of medication should a hurricane threaten.
  • Early in the hurricane season purchase food that does not need refrigeration—biscuits, tinned meats, tinned vegetables, tinned soups, pasta, rice, sugar, etc. These can be supplemented in an emergency and used later if there is no hurricane.
Emergency Supplies
  • Enough dry food for two weeks (i.e. food that does not need to be in a refrigerator).
  • Enough water for two weeks. Remember we need water for drinking, cooking, bathing and flushing the toilet.
  • Antibacterial hand and bath soap.
  • Disinfectant spray.
  • Garbage bags—these can be used to keep clothes dry, to cover computer equipment, and to protect various household items from rain damage.
  • Plastic cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons —this reduces having to use water for washing up purposes in the days immediately after the storm. Dispose of these items properly after use so that they do not become breeding containers for mosquitoes or attract flies.
  • Insect repellant and ointment or lotions to rub on insect bites.
  • Batteries for radio and flashlights.
  • Wet-wipes or sterile wipes. These are useful for cleansing hands, etc.
  • Toilet paper (secured in a waterproof plastic bag).
  • Where there are babies and/or pets in a household there should be at least two weeks of food specifically for them.
  • A month’s supply of medication.
  • Bandages, plaster, rubbing alcohol, cold and cough medicine, over-the-counter pain killers, antibiotic ointment.
  • Plastic zipper bags—large, medium, small.

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Hurricane Tips 2 pdf

Understanding Hurricanes

Sustained winds: wind lasting one minute on average and measured at approximately 10 metres above ground.
Knot: 1 knot = 1.15 mph.
Tropical Depression: circular system of organised thunderstorms with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
Tropical Storm: same as TD above but more organised and with sustained winds between 39 and 73 mph.
Hurricane: When sustained winds exceed 74 mph the system is designated a hurricane.

Important Checklist
  • Fill up all vehicles with petrol. In the aftermath of a hurricane electricity could be out for several days and petrol cannot be pumped without electricity.
  • Fully charge all rechargeable batteries.
  • Get some extra cash. If electricity is off for some days you will not be able to access ATM machines and banks may be closed for some days as well.
  • Turn refrigerator dials to the coldest position. This helps the food stay fresh a little longer when the electricity goes. It is also a good idea to stack the fridge with ice, freeze bottles of water and juice in containers, milk, etc. Fill empty spaces with ice. A fully packed freezer may keep frozen contents for up to 48 hours if it remains unopened.
  • Secure outdoor furniture so that it doesn’t become a missile in the high winds and damage your or someone else’s property.
  • Locate valves or breakers for electricity, water, and natural gas. These should be turned off before the hurricane strikes in order to minimise damage and wastage in the aftermath of the storm.
  • Secure important documents in a waterproof zipper bag—passports, ID cards, drivers’ licenses, insurance policies, credit cards, cash, medical records, naturalisation papers, education certificates, title deeds, investment portfolios, computer back-up disks, etc.
  • Fill washing machines, bath tubs and other containers with water. Secure water for drinking and cooking so that it does not become contaminated if your house is damaged. Avoid using empty milk containers to store water as it is difficult to remove all milk from the pores of the container and this helps bacteria to grow.
  • Disconnect and remove TV antenna or satellite dish and store safely. High winds can rip these items off and turn them into dangerous missiles.
  • Check that gutters are unclogged as clogged gutters in heavy rain can send water into your home.
  • Lift as many possessions off the floor as possible as this will minimise water damage. Place clothes in a plastic bag and secure the bag. If your roof is damaged this will keep clothes dry and dry clothes after a storm are a necessity.
  • If you own a generator never set it up inside the house or garage. Emissions from working generators can cause illness or death.
  • Have something to do during the hours of the hurricane—books to read, games to play, music to listen to, etc. Stress during the passage of a storm is natural and takes a toll on the human body. Having enjoyable things to do can relieve some of the stress. It is not unusual for stress related illnesses and deaths to increase in the weeks after a hurricane.

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Hurricane Tips 3 pdf

Safe Drinking Water

Water is a carrier of microorganisms that cause a range of illnesses. Water is often a main means of spreading disease in the aftermath of any natural disaster. There are two primary ways to purify water in difficult circumstances:

  1. Boiling—bring water to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Chlorination—add 16 drops of unscented chlorine bleach per gallon of water, stir well and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Be sure to use purified water to wash fruit and vegetables for eating and to brush teeth.

When Going to a Shelter

If you decide to ride out the storm away from home in a designated shelter you should take with you:

  1. Food and water for at least a week, two weeks is even better.
  2. Batteries, radio, and flashlights.
  3. Toilet paper secured in a plastic bag.
  4. Pillows, towels, blankets, air mattresses, and sufficient clothes for several days.

Be sure to unplug all electrical appliances before leaving and lock up your home.

After the Hurricane
  • Do not venture outside until the “all clear” has been given. Continue monitoring radio reports.
  • When going out be extremely careful. Do not go barefoot. Wear sturdy boots or shoes and not slippers.
  • Stay away from power lines that are down. They may have a live current running through them.
  • It is natural to want to use the phone to check on friends and relatives. Please keep calls to a minimum as overloaded telephone services prevent emergency calls from getting through to summon help for those who are injured or in life threatening situations.
  • Avoid wading through flooded areas. Flood water may be contaminated and construction debris such as nails, glass shards, splinters of wood, and chunks of concrete are likely to be in the water and these can cause serious injury that later becomes infected.
  • Do not allow pets to roam freely. They too can be injured and can become disoriented and lost as landmarks have been changed by the storm.
  • Take pictures of damage to your home and possessions for insurance claim purposes.
  • Looting is an unfortunate side effect of natural disasters worldwide. Take reasonable steps to secure your property.
  • Help neighbours whenever possible. We’re in this together.
  • Never taste food to see if it is good. This can result in food poisoning. Dispose properly of any food item of which you are suspicious.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to keep your body hydrated.
  • Obtain a small bottled-gas stove that can be used for cooking in the event that your appliances are damaged.

An Important Word or Two about Generators
  • Never use the generator indoors. Ensure that the generator is out of the house and in a well ventilated area.
  • Never connect the output from the generator directly into the breaker panel or household outlets. This can cause serious problems in a number of ways.
  • Never refuel a generator when it is running or hot and always keep open fire away from the generator. If you need light to refill the generator use a battery operated flashlight. Explosions and fires can be lethal.
  • Protect the generator from the rain, always ensuring it is well ventilated.
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Hurricane Tips 4 pdf

Hurricane Straps

According to building code professionals, lack of hurricane straps is the number one mistake that costs homeowners millions of dollars in hurricane damage. The concept is to use specially designed straps made of galvanized steel to anchor the roof to the sides of the house and the sides and floor of the house to the foundation. This simple process can make the difference when hurricane force winds threaten our homes.
In some instances retrofitting an existing house may be a bit expensive. However, failure to correctly install hurricane straps may lead to the far greater expense of putting on a new roof. In some countries the use of hurricane straps leads to reductions in house insurance premiums.
Examples of hurricane straps are shown in the images to the right.


In providing these tips the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean makes no guarantees. These are guidelines to help people living in hurricane prone areas make preparations to withstand a hurricane strike. However, hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable and can sometimes make the best preparations ineffective. Proper preparations do give us the best chance of
minimising damage and dislocation in the event that where we live is hit by hurricane.

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