There’s no denying that hurricanes are not just extremely terrifying, but also extremely dangerous. Knowing how to survive one is a skill that should definitely be learned early on in one’s life. But first things first: what are hurricanes? Well, they’re tropical or subtropical storms with huge winds (think 119km/h or more!) Hurricanes can develop extremely quickly from tiny clusters of thunderstorms. They usually occur during the hurricane season, generally between late summer to early autumn.
Unfortunately, we have experienced many devastating hurricanes lately, which have not only left countless of families homeless, but also severely injured many others. Naturally, we have been exposed to many tips and tricks that are supposed to help us survive a hurricane. These tips and tricks have appeared all over the media and have also been passed through word of mouth.
Below we have compiled 15 tips and tricks that could very well save your life if a hurricane was to occur in your area. So read carefully, prepare, and most importantly, always stay safe – evacuate when you’re told to, have enough water, and never, ever leave your house if everything suddenly goes quiet; more often than not, the worst is yet to come!
15. Prepare Beforehand – Pour Water Into Ziploc Bags
If you know a hurricane is coming, prepare in advance. Have a hurricane kit packed with all the essentials ready. This kit should include things such as water, food, clothes, and sleeping gear such as blankets. Make sure you also have battery-powered radios or, alternatively, hand-crank radios. It’s also a good idea to have flashlights and extra batteries.
Hurricanes often result in floods and power outages, which in turn result in power supply being cut off. Prepare for this by filling up your bathtub and sinks with water. Another thing you can do is fill Ziploc bags with water and then place them flat in the freezer. Only fill the bags three-quarters-full, however, to prevent them from exploding. It is generally advised to have prepared at least a gallon of water a day (per person) for three days in a row.
14. When To Hit The Road
If an evacuation order has been issued, leave your home and hit the road. Don’t wait too long before you evacuate, as this could prove fatal. Has an evacuation order not yet been issued and you’re not sure whether you should evacuate or not? Evacuate if: You live in a low-lying area, or an area that suffers from floods since hurricanes often result in heightened tides; if you live in a mobile home or a home that has poor structural stability; or if you live on a boat.
Make plans to stay with your friends or neighbors. If you don’t have friends or neighbors you can stay with, call a local emergency management office and let them know about your situation as soon as possible.
13. Hide In The Basement, Inner-Most Closet Or Bathroom
If you’re staying home during a hurricane, then try to stay away from all windows and doors. Typically, the safest place to be during a hurricane is the basement. If your house doesn’t have a basement, then you can also hide in interior rooms, closets, and bathrooms that have no windows. Bathrooms with no windows are a good choice because plumbing pipes give extra protection.
If all else fails, hide under heavy furniture. This will help you stay safe in the event of a roof or a wall collapsing. Hold on tight to the heavy piece of furniture you are hiding under. Try to protect your head with a pillow or a blanket.
12. It’ll Get Quiet Once You’re Inside The Eye Of The Hurricane – Don’t Leave Your Safe Place!
Be careful if everything suddenly goes quiet. You may think that the hurricane has passed, but the sudden calm could also mean that you are now in the eye of the hurricane. The eye of the hurricane is located in the center of the hurricane. It is the calmest and most peaceful part of the hurricane. However, be careful, that means the worst is yet to come.
Don’t be fooled by the silence; stay in your safe spot. The eye of the hurricane will pass and you will once again be engulfed in a storm. The winds at the edge of the eye are severe and extremely destructive.
11. Do NOT Use A Generator
Whatever you do, do not use a generator in your home, basement or other safe spots during or after a hurricane. Generators create carbon monoxide, so if you’re using one at home, it will most likely fill up with carbon monoxide. As you probably know, breathing too much carbon monoxide can be fatal. Unfortunately, open doors, windows, and a fan will not provide enough fresh air.
If you do end up using a portable generator, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm. Plug your machines and appliances straight into your generator instead of plugging your generator into the household electrical system.
10. Stuck In A Car During A Hurricane? Get On Top Of The Roof ASAP
Hurricanes often result in flash floods. Sometimes people are not aware of how dangerous it is to drive during flooding, even if the water looks calm. They don’t realize that a car can be swept away in a flash flood in an instant.
If you are caught in a flash flood when you are driving, make sure you roll down your windows as soon as the water rises. This is crucial. Then, quickly scramble to the top of your car. Once you are on the roof of your car, stay low and calm. If you panic or cause too much movement, the car could flip and take you with it.
9. The Triangle Of Life
Imagine this scenario: your house is collapsing as a result of a hurricane and you are trapped inside. What do you do? The most important thing is to try and remain calm. Leave the building as soon as possible, preferably through a door or a window.
Whatever you do, don’t use the elevator. The collapsing building can easily cause the elevator to move off its pulley system. It may also snap the elevator’s cables. If you can, use the stairs.
If you can’t leave the building, take cover next to heavy furniture, such as a desk or a sofa. But don’t hide under the heavy piece of furniture! Instead, lie down on the floor next to it and assume a fetal position. The furniture will support the collapsed wall or ceiling, at the same time creating a safe nook beside it. This is known as the ‘Triangle of Life’.
8. Know How To Disinfect Water
It is common for people to run out of water during a hurricane. Water is essential for survival, so one has to find a way of procuring more water. The easiest thing you can possibly do is find the clearest water you can find and disinfect it. You need to disinfect the water you find in case it is contaminated.
There are numerous ways you can disinfect water – you can disinfect it by using purification tablets, chlorine, or simply by boiling it. You can also see if there’s any water in your home’s water heater. Usually, water heaters contain about 40-80 gallons of clean water in them.
7. If You’re On The Beach, Run Towards The Highest Land Point You Can See
Sometimes hurricanes take you by surprise. There is no time to prepare and no time to come up with an escape plan. For example, let’s say you’re on a beach. You’re having a great time — you’re working on your tan. Then, suddenly, you see dust in the distance and you notice the sea erupting in shock waves.
The only thing you can do in this scenario is run. Leave all your valuables behind and run towards the highest land point you can see. If the land around you is completely flat, then try scrambling atop a sturdy looking building or its roof. If there are no buildings in sight, wrap yourself around a tree or find an object that will float.
6. If You’re In The Sea, Swim Towards The Open Sea
Imagine this terrifying scenario: you’re in the water, swimming or surfing, and you notice the sea changing. You suddenly realize a hurricane is coming. If you have enough time, the obvious thing to do is swim towards the shore and then run as fast as you can.
If you don’t have enough time to get out of the water, then swim towards the open sea. If you manage to get far away from the shore, you may end up floating for a while and will avoid the debris or structures that may injure or kill people on the beach.
5. Put A Quarter In A Cup Of Frozen Water
Imagine you evacuate your house during a hurricane and then after the danger has passed, you return. There is plenty of food in your fridge from before you left. But is it safe to eat it? Or should you throw it out? You can find out by placing a quarter in a frozen cup of water.
Before you leave your house, fill a cup with water and put it in the freezer. When the water in the cup has frozen, take it out and place a quarter on top of it. Then, put the cup back in the freezer. When you come back, check your cup. If the quarter is still on top of the cup, then that means that your electricity did not go off for an extended period of time and your food is safe to eat. If the quarter is now at the bottom of the cup, then that means that your electricity went off for a long period of time and you should throw away your groceries. If the quarter is in the middle of the cup, then the food should be safe to eat, but you should probably not risk it just in case.
4. Do Not Go To Your Attic (If You Do, Bring An Axe)
When there’s flooding and the water in your home is rising, your first instinct will probably be to go to your attic and barricade yourself. However, while the attic may seem like a safe spot, it isn’t really. Hiding from the floods in the attic may result in you getting trapped.
It is a far better idea to skip the attic and go straight to your roof. That way, you will not end up getting trapped. If you absolutely must go to your attic, then make sure you bring tools with you, such as an ax, as it will allow you to later break through the walls and scramble to the roof. Better yet, store an ax in your attic at all times.
3. Stay Away From Electrical Equipment
Avoid using electrical equipment during a hurricane, including phones, laptops, and computers. Don’t use a shower or a bath during a storm either to avoid electrocution. Use your phone only in emergency situations, for example, if you need to call an ambulance. After the storm has passed, do not touch any loose or dangling wires, as doing so could prove to be fatal. Similarly, do not step in any puddles that may touch electrical equipment to avoid electrocution.
If someone close to you touched an electrical device and got electrocuted, do not touch them to check for a pulse. If you touch them, the current could go through you. Instead, call emergency medical help.
2. Sleep With Your Shoes On And Wear A Bicycle Helmet
If you know a hurricane is coming, then sleep with a pair of sturdy shoes beside you. Don’t wear sandals or other flimsy shoes. You need shoes that will protect you. If a hurricane is near then you might consider sleeping with your shoes on.
It is also advisable that you wear a helmet. Any helmet is better than no helmet, so don’t be shy about wearing your cycling helmet or your baseball helmet. In fact, it has been noted that wearing a helmet during severe weather conditions could save your life, or at least prevent a head or neck injury.
1. Keep A Water Bottle Near You
There is no denying that plastic water bottles are useful objects. But it turns out that their use is not confined to simply holding water. In fact, a water bottle could very well save your life both during and after a hurricane.
During a hurricane, most houses suffer from a loss of power. If you need a lantern, you can easily make one from a water bottle. Simply tape a flashlight to the bottom of your water bottle and then use this DIY lantern to signal for assistance or to see in the dark.
Hurricanes often cause floods, and floods can result in contaminated drinking water. But how can you know if the water in your house is clean and safe to drink? Easy! You can make your own water filter from a plastic water bottle. Simply remove the mouths off of two 2L water bottles and place the two bottles into one another. Place the filter in and there you have it – your own plastic water bottle filter.
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