Whether you plan to be on the East Coast during the late summer and early fall or in the South Pacific over the winter, a hurricane preparedness checklist can help keep you and your family safe.
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew tore a path of destruction from the Caribbean through the Southern United States. The storm killed more than 1,000 people in Haiti and at least 43 people in the U.S. The category 5 monster caused billions of dollars in damage and stranded thousands of residents and vacationers who were trying to soak up the last rays of summer. That's why, when you spend time on the shoreline anywhere from Texas to New York during hurricane season, it's a good idea to bring a hurricane preparedness checklist to help protect you and your property.
When and where to watch for hurricanes
Hurricanes aren't terribly common in the Midwest because they gain their strength only when traveling over water; once they make landfall, they tend to dissipate quickly. However, quickly is a relative term. If you live on the eastern or southern coasts, hurricanes can do devastating amounts of damage before they move back out to sea. These powerful storms can bring flooding, fires, and wind damage.
The Atlantic hurricane season is longer than you might think. It runs from June 1 through November 30, though peak season runs between the middle of August and the middle of October. Because of this, you'll often find more affordable vacation packages to tropical destinations along the Atlantic during these times, which often leaves travelers stranded—or worse—from hurricane-related weather. The most common places hurricanes make landfall in the U.S. are Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, though Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have all seen their fair share of tropical storms. If you're traveling to any of these states in the summer, you'll want a hurricane preparedness checklist.
Hurricane season in the southern Pacific starts in October and dissipates in May. So if you take a winter vacation to Australia, for instance, keep these safety tips in mind.
How to prepare for a hurricane while traveling
The first thing you should do before you even get to the hurricane preparedness checklist is to watch the weather leading up to your vacation. Hurricane paths are hard to predict, but you can at least get an idea of whether or not there might be a threat while you're away. If there is, you might want to consider canceling your trip altogether. Check the fine print on your travel arrangements to see what options you have for this. It's also a good idea to check with your hotel to see what services they might provide in the event of dangerous weather.
It's also a good idea to have a traveler's insurance policy when you go on vacation. This may reimburse you for reasonable expenses incurred because of inclement weather. You'll also want to make sure that your health insurance policy for you and your family is in place and that you have the necessary documents with you. (If you're traveling out of the country to destinations in the Caribbean, check to see if your policy covers international health care—many of them don't.)
Hurricane preparedness checklist
In the event a hurricane does strike, there are some basic things you'll want with you.
This is essential in case of a hurricane. One gallon per person, per day, is ideal, but on vacation, you may have to work with whatever you can muster. If you are in a hotel or home, fill the tub with water so you will have a fresh supply.
Canned goods and beverages can help keep you going while the dust of the storm settles.
Toiletries and personal hygiene items
Plumbing may be unavailable for days, so make sure you have the bare essentials to stay clean and comfortable.
Flashlight and batteries
Ensure that your flashlight has working batteries. You may need to use it a lot.
Check the kit you have on hand to make sure it's full.
Cash or traveler's checks (or both)
Bring enough to last you for two weeks. If there are mass power outages, credit and debit cards won't work.
Travel documents and identification
Disasters are a prime opportunity for identity thieves to strike. Make sure you know where your documents are.
Map of the area you're staying in
If your phone dies, you won't have GPS. Keep a map handy to help you navigate unfamiliar streets.
Jackets and boots, not umbrellas.
Any prescription drugs you take
In an emergency, the priority is to get people to safety and make sure they have food and water. While your prescription medication is important, it will be much more difficult to get.
Something sturdier than sandals or flip-flops.
If you're at home when a hurricane strikes, you can create a much more comprehensive hurricane preparedness checklist, preferably one that gets you through several days. Think about things like plastic containers, paper utensils, blankets, clothing, and candles. If you have a baby in your family, remember to have a supply of formula, diapers, and anything else you might need for an infant's care. And of course, don't forget your furry, four-legged friends.
Remember, the most important thing during any natural disaster is that you stay safe. If you're told to evacuate an area, it's best to do so. It might spoil your vacation, but not nearly as badly as injury, illness, or worse that results from a hurricane.
Make sure your home is protected should a natural disaster strike. Contact Pekin Insurance today to see how we can help.
Have you been stranded on a vacation during severe weather? How did you handle it? Share your stories in the comments below.