This is a guest post by Amber Bradshaw of the Coastal Homestead.
Exactly one year ago today we experienced the 1000 yr. flood here on the coast of South Carolina and now we are getting ready for a hurricane.
“Governor Nikki Haley issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency and asked residents to prepare for evacuation of the South Carolina Coast in advance of any impact from Hurricane Matthew. Schools, County and State Offices are closed. “
Hurricane Matthew is a Category 4 Hurricane with 140mph winds and headed this way. We live in Zone A (right on the coast) in South Carolina in Georgetown County, Zone A is in the current evacuation zone. See National Hurricane Center tracking.
Typical homes are only built to withstand 85–100 mph winds and all coastal regions are at risk for storm surge damage. High winds from hurricanes are not the only threats. A storm surge can have a greater impact than the actual hurricane. Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 at landfall in Louisiana, produced catastrophic damage with a 28-ft storm surge.
If the governor issues a mandatory evacuation, they will send military personal door to door asking for your personal information and next of kin if you choose to stay. They will also turn off your water and electrical supply as the storm begins to make its way onshore. Emergency Personal are not allowed to go out in 60 mph or above winds. If you decide not to evacuate, you will not receive any help until the winds subside.
Hurricane – Shelter in Place or Evacuate?
Please do not misunderstand me, I will take my children to safety if the storm continues to be a major threat and I feel our lives are in imminent danger. Staying is a personal decision, if you have been ordered to evacuate, I strongly urge you to do so.
The Hurricane Floyd evacuation stranded thousands of people on traffic-clogged roads and bridges for hours. If the hurricane would have made a direct hit, thousands would have been dead because they did evacuate.
We have livestock that we cannot take with us. When you evacuate, it can take days (sometimes longer) before they let you back in. If we left our livestock and pets, they could be dead by the time we return. We have elderly neighbors that can’t leave that we help to take care of.
The following is a list of items that we are preparing for the hurricane. You can click here for a printable PDF version of the Hurricane Prep Checklist.
Hurricane Prep#1 – Medicine
Make sure we have our apothecary fully stocked and ready, including bandages, salves, tinctures, and antibacterial medicine.
Hurricane Prep #2 – Gas, and Gas/Oil Combo (for chainsaws, motors, etc)
4 Days before the storm's arrival, gas stations are all running out of gas. Make sure your tanks (and reserve tanks) are all full at the first sign of an impending disaster. It may be too late to find gas if you wait.
Hurricane Prep #3 – Water
Four days before the storm is expected and the stores are already out of bottled water. You can live without many things but water isn’t one of them.
You need at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days. A normally active person needs to drink at least one half gallon of water each day. You will also need water to clean yourself and to cook. (This means a family of four needs 12 gallons of water in their emergency supply.)
Keep in mind that the following groups may require more water:
- Pregnant women
- People who are sick
- People living in hot climates
- Don't forget about pets!
- Cats and dogs typically need 1 gallon for 3 days.
Fill your tub, coolers, water jugs, and containers. We also have a 20,000 gallon pool with salt water and a Salt-Water Distiller we can use if needed.
Hurricane Prep #4 – Cash
Always have cash on hand. Banks will close early to allow their employees to evacuate as well, so you need to get there early. ATM’s can quickly run out in a disaster situation.
Hurricane Prep #5 – Food
Not only do I want to have food storage, but I want to have the right food. What good are bags of rice if we do not have power to cook them and it’s too wet and windy for a fire? Making sure I have enough of the right food for a family of 5 for two weeks is a must. In my food storage I have fresh produce, canned goods, dried goods, ready-made meals, prepared foods, and snacks.
Hurricane Prep #6 – Ice
Ice is very important during disasters and power outages. Not only will they keep my food cool and prevent spoiling in the event of a power outage, but having a full fridge and freezer will help it work more efficiently and stay cooler longer. I am filling up all of my available plastic containers and freezing them ahead of the storm.
Hurricane Prep #7 – Firewood, Propane, and Charcoal
No electricity means no cooking in an oven or microwave. We are stocking firewood (inside so it doesn’t get wet), extra tanks of propane, and charcoal. You will also need to have a fire to purify water, heat water for baths, and wash clothes.
Hurricane Prep #8 – Protection from looting
Looting is a major issue following a disaster. Criminals take full advantage of abandoned homes and law officials are generally too busy helping victims to stop looters. Prepare to protect your home from looters and stock up on ammo, ropes, traps, etc.
Hurricane Prep #9 – Important Documents
We make several copies of important documents and store them in various secure places. Keep a copy with you during disasters and make sure they are in a waterproof container. We are also preparing waterproof lanyards to wear around our necks with our:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit)
- proof of residency
If we evacuate, they (military or law enforcement officials) will require this information in order to be allowed back to your home.
Photos – Before disaster hits it is a good idea to take pictures of your entire property, inside and out. Save a copy of these pictures to a flash drive and store in a safe place. Insurance, FEMA, or even the law enforcement will need copies for proof in the event that disaster strikes.
Hurricane Prep #10 – Lighting
Prior to the hurricane arrival, we stage all of our emergency candles and matches. We also make sure all of our flashlights have fresh batteries, plus extra batteries in several rooms of our home.
Hurricane Prep #11 – Laundry
It seems weird worrying about laundry during disaster preparedness, but you wouldn’t believe how important this is. Do your laundry ahead of time, trust me – you will thank me later.
Hurricane Prep #12 – Porta Potty
This is one lesson I learned the hard way during the 1000 yr. flood last year. We were without a toilet for a whole week with 5 people (3 of them are female), it was not a happy home. Check out the post , “DIY Portable Toilet, Plus Tips to Get Rid of Smells” for more information.
Hurricane Prep #13 – Empty Rain Barrels
We have six 65 gallon rain barrels that we use for irrigation for our gardens. I was hoping to save the water for a dry spell but they will quickly overflow with the impending rain so they need to stay drained so they don’t create washout with flooding. (Learn more about rain barrels.)
Hurricane Prep #14 – Bees
We are beekeepers and our bee’s safety is very important to us so we need to make sure they are protected as well. We are securing their hives with straps and anchoring them in the ground. Bees can’t forage during the rain and it takes 24-48 hrs for flowers to produce nectar after a spell of rain so you need to make sure you provide your bees with food during a disaster and storm.
Hurricane Prep #15 – Clean Coops/Mangers
Not knowing how long the storm will last, I need to make sure all of my livestock have clean and fresh living quarters because I don’t know if they will be able to forage and they may be stuck inside for a while. I will also include a variety of herbs to help keep them calm.
Hurricane Prep #16 – Clear Out Trash
The recycling centers are state owned here and close with the government agencies. In the aftermath of a disaster, they will be overflowing with traffic, so we are making sure to haul off all of our trash before the storm.
Hurricane Prep #17 – Charge Everything
Everything that has a plug and needs a charge is getting charged. We have battery cells for our phones, solar lamps, flashlights, tools, rechargeable batteries, etc. that are all being fully charged before the disaster strikes.
Biolite chargers can charge lights and small electronics at the same time they cook food or heat water.
Hurricane Prep #18 – Hand Sanitizer
In the event we are without running water, I will not be wasting precious water on washing our hands every time I touch something. I made a batch of homemade Hand Sanitizer to help keep clean during water outages.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- ¼ Cup Aloe Gel
- 1 Tbs Rubbing Alcohol or Witch Hazel
- ¼ Cup distilled Water
- 1o Drops Tea Tree Oil
- 10 Drops of Lavender Oil
Add all ingredients to a spray bottle and shake before use.
Hurricane Prep #19 – Chainsaw and Generators
Two of the most valued assets after a storm or hurricane are Chainsaws and Generators. Making sure the chainsaw is serviced and operating and start the generator to make sure it runs. We also make sure we have the gas/oil stocked.
Hurricane Prep #20 – Securing Anything Loose
Even a piece of straw can become a weapon during hurricane force winds. If it’s not bolted, screwed, concreted or tied down, it gets moved inside.
Hurricane Prep #21 – Games and Entertainment
At three days before the storm's arrival, schools are already canceled. Make sure to have plenty of non-electric games and activities the kids can do indoors. Disaster situations are stressful on children as well, especially since they can’t always understand. Keeping them active will help maintain a happy home during a disaster.
Hurricane Prep #22 – Glean the Fields
I just finished picking the last of my summer crops. I wasn’t ready to pick many of them but I don’t want them to go to waste in the storm so I gleaned the property in preparation for the hurricane.
Hurricane Prep #23 – Life Jackets
Have you ever watched the news and seen the people standing on the roofs waving for rescue? Well, I hope that’s not us, but if it is and you see me on the news, I will be wearing an orange life vest. I might be waiting for a helicopter, but I won’t be drowning!
Hurricane Prep #24 – Bathe
I’m saving this for the last disaster preparation. A year ago, we were completely blindsided for the 1000 yr flood and unprepared. For a whole week we were unable to use our drains and septic system, this included the bathtubs. We are all taking long, luxurious baths and showers before the rain moves in. We may get wet after, we may be without water, but we’ll all be clean when it hits.
Hurricane Prep #25 – Evacuate if Needed
As the hurricane moves closer to the states, please seek shelter. If you live in an evacuation zone, please evacuate. You can replace ‘things' – you can't replace life.
If you have livestock, there are many wonderful people on social media who have farms that are offering to house livestock during the evacuation. If you have pets, there are listings for evacuation shelters that accept pets. “Pet Evacuation and Pet Friendly Emergency Shelters: Tips and Information For Helping You and Your Pet in a Disaster” has guides as to what you need to bring with you for your pet.
Stay safe and we will see you on the other side of the storm.
You may also find useful:
- Preparedness – Summer Storms, Tornadoes and Hurricanes
- Emergency Cooking – 10 Ways to Have a Hot Meal When the Power Goes Out
- 3 Emergency Water Filtration Options to Get the Funky Chunks Out
This is a guest post by Amber Bradshaw of The Coastal Homestead. Amber is a environmentalist, homesteader, garden and outdoor enthusiast. She is a wife, mother of three. Amber owns a contracting business with her husband, was President of the local Herb Society for the last three years, a 4-H Leader, Blogger and runs a CSA. Amber strives to get back into nature with a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle that fits a busy schedule and a tight budget. She lives on the east coast with her family on a little over 1/4 acre and encourages others to do big things with small spaces.