What does it mean to get ready for a hurricane?
Before you do any shopping, we recommend taking a few minutes to think of a friend or family member you could visit if local officials recommend you evacuate. Call them and talk to them about a few logistics. If you don’t know anyone, reach out to your local emergency manager. We recently met an emergency manager in Alabama who worked with a woman in her 80s who thought she was too old to bother with an evacuation plan. After talking, she realized she did have a cousin a few hours away in Tennessee she could visit. They reconnected and now they have a plan to be a safe location, and an out of town contact, for each other.
Many people think of the reporter in the wind shouting “Category 5!” as a hurricane approaches. Katrina was only a Category 3 when it hit land. It is not the wind that is so dangerous during a hurricane, it’s the water. The fast-rising water, called surge, is the cause of most hurricane casualties. During Katrina, the water level (or surge) got up to 28 feet, and up to 14 feet during Hurricane Sandy.
While in emergency prep basics we typically prioritize storing lots of safe water first, for a hurricane the top priority is being ready to GO, LEAVE, GET OUTTA TOWN. After you’ve determined your evacuation safe location (and how you would get there), you need to pack a go bag so you can easily get out of town quickly. You don’t have to buy an expensive go bag – you can make one yourself. We recommend the basic items below.
Build your own go bag.
Ready to go bags.
Don't feel like going the DIY route? We've got several great options that are ready to go. Check out three of our favorite below. Note that you still need to add personal items like medication, a change of clothes, a local map and documents.
Get out of dodge.
Many people do not evacuate because they don’t want to leave their pet behind. It is the top reason people who don’t have children do not evacuate. Make sure you have a pet-friendly place to go – there are many, you just need to look them up ahead of time. Be sure you have a carrier and go bag that works for your pet. You can also leave them behind safely with a gravity fed water and food system.
After the storm, many people unfortunately put themselves back in as much danger as they were in during the hurricane. Use the below items to cleanup safely.
Shelter at home.
Experts recommend being prepared to shelter at home for at least two weeks.