Hurricane Season Is Here

Hurricanes: How To Prepare Yourself, Your Home, and Your Kids

In the Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season is in full swing. Living on the Gulf Coast, we are all aware of the hurricanes and the damage they can cause. We need to prepare ourselves. Unless we have camping stoves, gas stoves, or a generator, we probably won’t have electricity for cooking or AC units. We’ll also need to have plenty of food in the pantry and bottled water. But, there are more precautions that we need to take. The US government’s Ready website has some useful tips to prepare our homes:

Basic Preparedness Tips

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Preparing Your Home

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.  

Hurricane Watch

Hurricane watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hrs.

Steps to take:

  • Review your evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials.
  • Review the items in your disaster supply kit; and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets.

Hurricane Warning

Hurricane warning = conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

Steps to take:

  • Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Follow the hurricane timeline preparedness checklist, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

When there is no hurricane: Make a hurricane plan\

  • Know your hurricane risk. Talk to your local emergency management agency.
  • Make an emergency plan.
    • Sign up for alerts and warnings
    • Make a Family Communication plan
    • Plan shelter options
    • Know your evacuation route
  • Build or restock your basic disaster supplies kit, including food and water, a flashlight, batteries, chargers, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Consider buying flood insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground or to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to local wireless emergency alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.

While that’s good advice for any tropical storm or hurricane, those of us with children and pets also need to make additional preparations. If your pet or child are particularly anxious during storms, you may want to consult your doctor about remedies or medications that may help. For most parents, having a full scale plan for distractions and plenty of entertainment options. What To Expect has some suggestions for that, too.

Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Busy During a Hurricane

What do you get when you cross a hurricane with young kids and subtract electricity? The answer isn’t “a good time.” Because you have no choice but to make the best of the situation, here are some ways to entertain the troops without the help of modern conveniences.

Play dress up. Time to pull out the Halloween costumes or dress up clothes! No, you probably won’t be trick-or-treating in torrential rain, but why not pull on those fairy outfits and ninja suits? You can stage a play or have a parade. Prolong the fun by creating masks with paper plates. That ought to kill at least ten minutes!

Go on a treasure hunt. Hide little trinkets like candies, toys, or play jewelry around the house and give each child a paper bag to collect his prizes. You can write up little clues or make a treasure map to show where the bounty is hidden. Keep them busier longer: Tell them to decorate their bags before the hunt.

Enjoy a carpet picnic. All you need is a big blanket and some nonperishable snacks to enjoy your own carpet picnic. Invite some stuffed animals or dolls to join you!

Pitch a tent. Remember how much fun it was to build forts when you were a kid? A simple blanket draped over some furniture can provide hours of fun. Let your kiddos sleep in there with their flashlights. Don’t forget the bedtime stories!

Build an epic block city. Recruit the Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Mega Blocks to build the most epic block city your playroom has ever seen!

Set up an indoor obstacle course. You probably have at least some of these items in your playroom: a collapsible tunnel, a small trampoline, a mini-slide, a ride-on car. Set up an obstacle course for the tots and exhaust them enough for a nap!

Go old school. Don’t forget about old tried-and-true indoor kid activities like hide and seek, Simon Says, coloring and board games. A hurricane is the perfect time to trot out the dependable standbys.

Hold a sing-a-long. Sit in a circle with your kiddos and sing some favorite tunes. Spice it up and give each child an instrument. Don’t have any? Use wooden spoons for makeshift drumsticks; fill small Tupperware containers with uncooked rice to create maracas.

Bend the rules. Let your kids do something you typically wouldn’t allow like jump on the bed or do cartwheels in the living room. This will help them cope with the boredom of being inside.

Celebrate a birthday or holiday. Pretend it’s someone’s birthday and everyone has to bring a gift. Give the kids a paper “gift” bag to decorate and tell them to fill it with goodies for the birthday girl or boy. Hand out party hats if you have them or make hats with construction paper. Decorate the room using old party supplies. Sing and enjoy a treat. Light birthday candles if you happen to have some. Get creative!

 

After the storm, the cleanup and repairs maybe quite extensive. At Abacus, we’re ready to help with any plumbing, electrical for HVAC issues the storm may have caused.

Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical is a full service residential contractor that has been serving the greater Houston area for over 50 years. Abacus is a member of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau of Houston. Abacus is licensed and insured and offers 24/7 emergency service. To learn more about Abacus Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, visit www.abacusplumbing.net or call (832) 554-9951. License Numbers: ALAN O'NEILL M-20628 | TACLB82488E | TECL 39119  

Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical services the greater DFW area including, but not limited to: Houston, Humble, Baytown, Bellaire, Conroe, Katy, Spring, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and more. Check out Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical reviews or see Abacus A+ BBB to confirm Abacus is a company you can trust.

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