The decision has been made to evacuate due to a hurricane. Here are pro tips from evacuees who have bee there and done that. They have weathered the storm and this is how they make the most out of a hurricane evacuation.
Hurricane Evacuation Pro Tips From Evacuees
I have evacuated only one time for a hurricane while in college. I lived in Charleston, Sc for 4 years and I remember evacuating at least once to my roommate’s home in Georgia. The hurricane was just a category 1 but the school gave us the option to leave. So being college kids…. we got out of Dodge!
But my friend Matt has stayed in the southern east coast for the past decade and he has evacuated on several occasions. Here are his driving tips for those who choose or have to evacuate.
Hurricane evacuation pro tip #1:
The US/state highways that run parallel to the interstate are generally significantly less crowded. You may hit small towns and traffic lights but it’s better than sitting in a parking lot on the interstate.
Hurricane evacuation pro tip #2:
Having and knowing how to read a physical map to find said highways is essential in case your phone/gps fails.
Hurricane evacuation pro tip #3:
If you’re well on you’re way out of the impact area, start thinking about filling up with gas around a half tank. It gets scarce real quick. Here is a no-spill gas can if you are looking to have a bit of a back up.
Hurricane evacuation pro tip #4:
Most map apps are really good at pinpointing heavy traffic. If you know how to read a map you can figure out how to go around it via this state highways. Bonus: you might find a gas station with gas in a little town.
Hurricane evacuation pro tip #5:
Know your driving limits. If you get tired pull over somewhere safe and rest. If you have to make it farther for safety reasons, I suggest a coffee nap. Drink a cup of coffee, or a redbull or whatever, and then set an alarm for a 20-25 minute power nap. Close your eyes and rest till the alarm goes off, by then the caffeine should be in your system and you’ve had a quick nap. Win-win. Just don’t drive tired and drowsy it’s how accidents happen which makes things worse for everyone.
More Hurricane Tips:
- Charge your batteries. Charge your cell phone, camera batteries (if you need to document storm damage), iPad, kids hand held games (got to keep them entertained!) & rechargeable batteries in general.
- Check your storm drain on your street. I know the storm drain may not be RIGHT IN FRONT of your house and yes, you pay taxes to have it cleaned but GO CHECK IT! Make sure that all leaves, debris, trash and sticks are clear from it. When the rain hits it will want to go down the drain. If the drain is covered the rain will have no where to go and flood the streets and possibly homes. Be the hero on the street and clear out the drain.
- Clean up your yard. Pick up the kids toys, the yard decorations, the political signs, the bats and balls. All these items can be projectiles and it would be best if they were put away or secured.
- Put away your patio umbrella. Don’t just put it down but put it away in your house, shed or garage. Even though an umbrella is down a wind can gust up under it and make it into a projectile. I know from experience. It will also take your table with it, ruining your umbrella, the table and anything they crash into.
- Make sure outside pets will be high and dry.
- Check in with your neighbors to make sure they are doing the same prep as you. Also ask what emergency items they have in stock. You never know what they might be willing to share or how you can help each other.
- Empty your ice trays and or bin and store the ice in gallon freezer bags. Continue to do this till your freezer is full of ice. A full freezer full of frozen items will keep frozen longer than an empty freezer.
- Fill empty milk jugs and soda bottles and freeze them as well. Same concept as above. This water can be thawed out and used to cook with if you loose water pressure when the power goes out.
- Make sure you have propane or charcoal for your grill. If you have an electric stove and oven and there is no power you can always grill! But be sure to grill OUTSIDE!
- If you home uses well water, fill your bathtub and top loading washing machine with water. If you are on a well the pump won’t run if the electric goes out and will not give you the water pressure to flush the toilet. This water can be scooped out and you can use it to flush the potty! Just pour the water in the tank and flush, or pour the water right into the bowl, the added water will draw all of the waste down into the pipes.
- Know your power company’s emergency number. Write it down on paper. If the power is out you will not be able to google it on your computer. Hopefully you will have a charged cell phone to call!
- If you have a sump pump in your basement make sure you have a clear path to get to it. I say this because currently our basement is a mess and I will be going to make a path to it when I finish this post. It is important to have a clear path to the sump pump if the power goes out and you don’t have a battery back up. If a bucket brigade needs to happen to bail out the sump it is best to not be tripping over the stuff you have been meaning to clear out.
- Have a cooler ready to put perishables in if the power goes out and your refrigerator gets above 40 degrees for more than 4 hours. see this quote from the USDA on food safety and emergency preparedness:Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 °F and frozen food at or below 0 °F. This may be difficult when the power is out.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
- Know how to operate your generator safely! Generators make exhaust and generate carbon monoxide which is deadly. Never run them inside the home. Even in a garage the amount of Carbon Monoxide can be dangerous. Operate them in a well ventilated area ONLY. Remember, water and electricity DON’T MIX so take extra precaution with high water and generator usage.
Have family game time! Put together a puzzle, pull out the Uno cards, play chutes and ladders, color an entire coloring book! Take advantage of being together and create some memories if you are not bailing water!
Read. Yup good old fashioned reading. Grab that book you have been meaning to pick up and read it. If you have an e-reader be sure to download books and other publications before the power goes out.