Though most Americans only experience the rain benefits when a hurricane strikes, costal residents should take extra precautions when it comes to hurricane safety. Tropical storms or massive hurricanes can be extremely destructive; with wind speeds exceeding 155 mph, being near a cyclone could endanger your life.

Hurricane season lasts from June to November each year, with peak season occurring from August to October. As we approach the most probable time for hurricanes, it’s a good idea to get the facts and learn about the preparation you need for this natural disaster.

Watch the news

The most important tip for surviving a hurricane is to listen to authorities and announcements made on your local news station. If an evacuation is ordered in your area, make sure you follow directions. Don't just assume that you can stay at home and wait out a hurricane. As the climate continues to change, natural disasters are increasingly more severe. Even if you have lived through a hurricane before, take precautions because the next one could be worse. It's not worth risking your life!

Put together an emergency kit

Make a kit of the basic household items you'll need in the event of an emergency. In a hurricane it's common for everyday services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones to be out of order, sometimes for days.  Gather nonperishable foods, bottles of water, flashlights (and batteries!) and a first aid kit to meet your minimum daily requirements. You may also consider buying a portable hand-crank charger that could power your cellphone or a radio. Keep your kit handy at all times. If you are ever in a natural disaster you may not have time to gather all the supplies you need.

Create a family communications plan

You never know where you'll be when disaster strikes, so it's important to have a plan in place. Figure out how your family will contact each other and make sure young children have contact cards with all the emergency numbers they need in a backpack or somewhere easy to access. When disaster strikes, cellphone networks can often be bogged down with calls. Sometimes it's easier to make a call across the country than it is across town. Make sure to consider a long-distance contact for everyone in your family to get a hold of in an emergency. Learn evacuation routes and determine where you will go if a hurricane ever hits. Ensure that everyone knows the plan!

Prepare your home

Hurricane force winds could tear your home apart, as can accompanying flooding and tornados. Make sure your home is protected if you can. Cover all your windows with 5/8" marine plywood. You can get it precut and ready to install to quickly and effectively protect your windows. You may also consider purchasing permanent storm shutters for the best protection. Reinforce your roof by installing straps or clips that secure the roof to the frame of the house. Bring inside any outdoor furniture that could fly away along with garbage cans, bird baths and children's toys. If it's not tied down, it shouldn't be out!

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