This isn’t my usual style of
If what we learned during Hurricane Harvey can help anyone as they prepare for a hurricane, it will all be worth it.
I also have another post that I wrote last year immediately following Hurricane Harvey titled, Tips and Tricks for Preparing for a Hurricane. It’s a great post full of advice that you might want to read next.
Many times when you read about preparing for a hurricane, the advice suggests things that will get you through the storm, just through the storm. During Hurricane Harvey, we rode through the storm without problems. Yes, we lost power and were stranded inside our house for a few days but that wasn’t the hard part.
For me, as a mom and caretaker, the hardest parts of Hurricane Harvey were the disasters that followed the hurricane as streets and homes flooded and for
The number one thing you can do to prepare for a hurricane
Food Supplies for a Hurricane:
We’ve lived on the Gulf Coast for many years and have prepared for many storms. In the past, my thought has always been that I needed easy to prepare food for my family long enough to weather the actual storm and maybe a day or two after it. After that
The lesson we learned in Hurricane Harvey: When I went to the store before Harvey, I grabbed snacks and fun foods to get us through a 2-3 day period without power. Hurricane Harvey dumped historic rains on our area for 4 days straight where we could not leave our home. Thankfully we didn’t lose power until the end so we had cold food and freezer foods we could use. The worst part is that I had always thought we could run to the store after the storm for more food. Harvey flooded our area of town so badly that there was not a way into or out of our town. The grocery stores that weren’t flooded couldn’t get supplies because there was no way in. It was about a week before the remaining grocery stores were able to be fully open again.
When purchasing food before a hurricane, you need a two week supply of food and a way that you could cook it without power. You also need to consider ways that you could keep foods cold without power.
- Check out this post on How to Prepare Your Refridgerator / Freezer for a storm (great tips for keeping it cold as long as possible after losing power).
- Stock up on bottled water. If you get to the store too late and all the bottled water is gone, go home and fill up all the containers in your house with water.
- Fresh fruits, chips, crackers, canned meat such as tuna, beans, beef jerky, bread, protein bars, dried fruit
andnuts are all great items to grab at the store.
- Ask your neighbors in advance in they have a generator. If you lose power, ask nicely if you can keep a few items in their fridge or freezer.
Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane:
One of the best things you can do for your home when preparing for a hurricane is to gather everything in advance and put it together in one spot. If you lose power when it’s a dark and stormy day, the last thing you want to do is be digging around in your dark garage for where you think your hammer and nails might be or search for batteries when a flashlight is dying.
Lessons Learned in Harvey: When preparing for Harvey, we put home repair supplies in a plastic tub on our dining room table. Thankfully we never needed most of them. However being able to easily grab all of the flashlights, headlamps, air mattress and the air pump were life savers for us during the storm. It also helped our kids greatly when we were able to stay calm because we knew where the things we needed were located.
In a plastic tub place items that could immediately be used to repair your home or shelter in place in another area of your home such as:
- Tarps and items to help secure them such as a hammer, nails, or cording.
- Flashlights and extra batteries (remove from remotes or other electronics before the storm if necessary)
- Air mattresses and pumps.
- Screw drivers and screws.
- Crow bars / small machetes.
- Heavy Duty tape.
Other preparation for your home includes securing any items outside such as signs and patio furniture and making sure that any drains in your yard or on your street are clear of debris.
Preparing Yourself and Your Family for a Hurricane:
There’s a difference in preparing your home and preparing yourself for a hurricane. Push comes to shove, homes and cars can be walked away from. Lives matter.
When a hurricane is coming your way, you need to have an exit plan in place and you need to be prepared to use it.
Lessons Learned in Hurricane Harvey: Thankfully our home did not flood in Harvey but the morning that our town flooded we did leave our home because we were afraid it would flood. Many, many of our friends left their homes in boats and we have since heard countless stories of the papers they need to start work on their home being in a soggy flooded filing cabinet or when they left without the medicine that they needed.
Once you have the items prepared to fix your home if something happens, it’s time to prepare for the possibility of having to quickly leave your home.
It is recommended that you have at least one backpack or small (easy to carry bag) per family member. Think about what each member needs to survive for a few days in a new spot. Pack 2 changes of clothes, including one comfortable one that could be used for sleeping, underwear, dry socks, comfort items, medicine, a
Other items that you need to have located and in water safe, easy to carry bag or container:
- Copy of homeowners insurance, car insurance
andhealth insurance information.
- Copy of vital documents such as driver license, birth certificate, marriage certificate. (It seems silly but many flooded Harvey survivors have learned this the hard way).
- Pet leashes and supplies
- Medicines and important medical records
- A written copy of important phone numbers. Cell phones and water do not mix.
- Extra cell phone chargers
I hope that if you’re reading this, you won’t need a single part of it. However if you do need, I hope you’re prepared and ready.
Being calm will carry you safely through the storm.
Keep your cell phones and external batteries charged. Don’t drive into water. Let your loved ones know what’s happening and check on your neighbors.
One year later and Houston is still recovering from Harvey. No one could have been prepared for the effects of a storm lasting over a year but the people who were prepared for the first two weeks of Harvey saved a lot of people who weren’t.
Here’s a few other links that might help you until the storm is gone:
- How to prepare your
fridge / freezerfor a power outage
- Tips for preparing for a hurricane
- When Trauma Hits, Life After Harvey