While there are some years hurricanes don’t hit the U.S. mainland, when they do, they can bring devastating winds, rains, flooding and more — a few that come to mind include Harvey, Irma and most recently, Florence. Hurricane season can be devastating for property owners in risky regions.
If you find yourself in the path of a hurricane, there are ways you can weather the storm and minimize the cost of storm-related damage to your homestead.
Ensure you, your loved ones and your property are safe with these hurricane preparedness tips:
Ready Your Emergency Generator
Don’t depend on the local infrastructure to hold up during hurricane season. More often than not, a gust will knock down power lines and leave you in the dark. The best method for managing these outages is to keep an emergency generator on standby.
Before the first drops of rain even begin to fall, you should have your generator fueled and ready to go. It’s one thing to be caught in the dark, and it’s another to have all the food in your refrigerator spoil.
Emergency generators can charge your mobile devices in addition to keeping the lights on, too. In the event of an injury, having access to a phone with full battery might be the difference between life and death. Don’t take that chance.
Install Hurricane Shutters
Hurricanes like Florence bring high winds, hard rain and dangerous flying debris. There are few better ways to protect your homestead than with sturdy hurricane shutters, blocking windows that might otherwise shatter. The last thing you need in the middle of a storm is broken glass.
With options ranging from basic plywood to metal panels, you have freedom when choosing how to best secure your homestead or business. A big thing to consider is the money and time you have at your disposal.
On a low budget, plywood is a realistic alternative to more advanced protection. These can be a DIY project for an able-bodied homesteader — ideally, you’ll want to go with 1/2 to 3/4 inch-thick plywood that’s no larger than 4 ft x 8 ft sheets.
Accordion shutters are a permanent option that slide along tracks, and they are useful if you live in an area that sees a high percentage of storms every year. This will save homesteaders frequently in the path of storms the time and energy required to put up and take down shutters as needed.
Corrugated or flat metal panels are relatively inexpensive but must be unique to each window. This requires a greater amount of time spent preparing them before the storm hits, which might cause trouble unless you have the proper foresight.
Ensure the Safety of Your Livestock
If you own and depend on animals for your living — chickens, pigs, cows, etc. — it’s crucial to secure a place for them to stay until the storm passes. The place you keep them will depend on the type and size of the animal. Chickens require a different protocol than cows, for example.
Small animals, like chickens, will need an enclosure that provides solid protection. Whether you employ paneling or shutters, your top priority is keeping them completely sheltered from rain and wind and ensuring they’ll be properly fed and watered.
Large animals like cows will be fine in your pasture as long as you account for flooded areas. Easy access to high terrain is a must, so your animals can get away from rising waters.
Stock up on Resources and Materials
In the event of a severe hurricane, reliable transportation becomes an issue. It becomes an even greater issue the longer the hurricane lasts. Use the days before the storm to stockpile the resources and materials you’ll need to sustain yourself and maintain your homestead.
One thing you’ll need to make sure you have enough of is water. Hurricanes often cause the public water supply to become contaminated, and it’s essential you have fresh water to depend on for you and your livestock in the event of inoperable treatment facilities.
For you and your family, be sure you have at least one gallon of water for each person per day. Try to keep at least a three-day supply on-hand. For your livestock and other animals, do your best to ensure their water supply will last them for the duration of the hurricane.
Collect wire and posts for any damage that might occur around your homestead. When Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on September 14th, it brought sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and gusts over 105 miles per hour. Fences and other free-standing structures can take a serious beating with those kinds of winds. Having material stored away makes clean up and repair a lot easier to handle.
All of this can and should be done sooner rather than later, preferably before hurricane season hits. It’s never too early to begin preparations.
Good luck and stay safe out there!