I want to take a quick break from my survival blog series on situational awareness to talk about Hurricane Sandy, which is shaping up to be an absolutely massive storm. Weather forecasters are saying that Hurricane Sandy will be a major threat to portions of the mid-Atlantic and northeast states, with winds currently reported at 140 mph. If it hits the US coast at the intensity, we could be looking at catastrophic damage.
You may read this blog regularly, so hopefully you have thought about a situation like Hurricane Sandy well in advance. Just in case, I want to quickly mention a few important reminders about hurricanes, particularly if you are in the path of this giant.
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas, today! Don’t wait till the storm is bearing down on your area, because the gas stations will have huge lines or they may be out of fuel altogether.
- While you’re at it, fill up your gas cans and test your generator. Even if you don’t have to evacuate, there is still the possibility of power outages caused by the storm.
- Fill any prescriptions for you, your family and your pets right away. Your local pharmacy may have some wait time right now, but it will be ten times more difficult during the middle of a hurricane evacuation or if you’re out of town.
- Map out several routes to leave town, as major arteries are nearly always clogged during a hurricane evacuation. Call a close friend or relative who lives outside the danger zone to see if you can stay with them if circumstances dictate.
- Stay current on the weather forecast and if local officials give the order for a hurricane evacuation, heed their advice. Don’t be one of those people stuck on your rooftop.
- Fill up clean, sterilized jugs with drinking water and store them in your fridge and freezer. The chilled ones can be used if the power goes out and the frozen ones will keep things cold for a longer period of time while you wait for the power to come back on. Remember, if there’s a widespread power outages, water treatment facilities may not be able to purify water and you’ll need at LEAST 2-4 gallons of water, per person, per day. (Read my blog about how much water you really need here: http://www.mydirttime.com/gallery.php?adventureID=43)
- Make sure your go-bag is packed and ready to go. If you don’t have a go-bag, a last resort is to take any large plastic storage bin you have around the house and fill it with food, water, essential papers (ID, insurance, etc.), prescriptions, clothes and first aid kit. (And after the storm, make sure you make a go-bag for next time!)
- If you plan to evacuate, turn off your utilities if requested by local officials. Try to move valuables to upper floors of the house, if you’re worried about flooding. (More info is available on my blog about National Preparedness Month here: http://campingsurvivalblog.com/urban-survival-tips/september-is-national-preparedness-month-part-4-preparing-the-house/)
- If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, don’t waste fuel idling your car for minutes on end. When traffic isn’t moving for several minutes at a time, shut the car off.
It is possible that Hurricane Sandy will head out to sea and spare coastal cities. But if it comes ashore, especially in densely packed places that aren’t used to prepping for a hurricane (are you listening Long Island?), the damage could be devastating. I can’t stress enough that storm preparedness is something you should pay attention to throughout the year so you aren’t taken off guard, and if you have loved ones in any area that may be affected, please share my column with them.
Be well and stay prepared.