Hurricane Irma special coverage: Safeguarding your firearms during a hurricane

Lee’s note: This is the second installment of our Hurricane Irma special coverage.  As this Category 5 beast bears down on the Gunshine State, we will have stories on emergency kits, expanded CCW rights, personal security and much, much more.

There are several schools of thought on how to best secure your firearms when a monster like Hurricane Irma is coming.

The answer depends upon the size of your collection.

If your firearm collection is small enough to take with you during an evacuation, in my humble opinion, it’s better to take your guns.

If you can’t take all of your firearms with you, those that remain behind need to be secured in a safe. However, this too has pitfalls.

While I’ve yet to see a hurricane or tornado capable of flinging a gun safe, most of them, even the good ones, are not waterproof.

Therefore, if you leave firearms behind in a safe, they should be safeguarded from water damage.

Waterproof gun cases and/or dry bags specifically made for long-term firearm storage work best, but they are expensive. 

I prefer a field expedient method that uses Contractor Bags and loads of duct tape.

Contractor bags are garbage bags on steroids. They’re thicker than garbage bags — more tear resistant — and they’re larger. Some models offer a 42-gallon capacity, which is enough for several long guns and handguns.

Make sure you case or wrap your firearms before placing them in the bags to keep them from damaging each other.

Is this method foolproof?

No, far from it, but it’s better than nothing if you have to leave firearms in your safe during an evacuation.

Ammo can be stored in a similar method.

Remember to cover everything with a good coat of oil before storing them.

Another possible tip, and one that I can’t recommend because I’ve never tried it: One reader told me he sealed his safe with silicone calk before he evacuated. When he returned after the water receded from his home, the contents of his safe were high and dry even though it had been standing in two feet of water.

Does this work? I can’t guarantee it but, again, it’s likely better than nothing.

Here’s to hoping we get a miss, and all of our hurricane prep amounts to nothing more than good practice.

Stay safe!



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. Good article. One point though, if a tornado or hurricane can fling a car, they can probably fling a gun safe. I do concede that a gun safe is denser with a smaller surface area to catch the wind, but a tornado can fling pretty much anything. Having said that, you bring up some excellent points and your advice is solid.

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