Before the Hurricane …
- Determine safe evacuation routes inland.
- Learn locations of official shelters.
- Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered equipment such as cell phones and your NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver.
- Buy food that will keep and store drinking water.
- Buy plywood or other material to protect your home if you don’t already have it.
- Trim trees and shrubbery so branches don’t fly into your home.
- Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Decide where to move your boat.
- Review your insurance policy.
- Find pet-friendly hotels on your evacuation route.
When in a Watch Area…
- Frequently listen to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins of the storm’s progress.
- Fuel and service family vehicles.
- Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
- Ensure you have extra cash on hand.
- Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
- Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
- Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture.
When in a Warning Area…
- Closely monitor radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins.
- Close storm shutters.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered! 9 Stay with friends or relatives at a low-rise inland hotel or at a designated public shelter outside the flood zone.
- DO NOT stay in a mobile or manufactured home.
- Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
- Take pets with you if possible, but remember, most public shelters do not allow pets other than those used by used by people with disabilities. Identify pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route.
During the Storm
Plan to Leave if You...
- Live in a mobile home. They are unsafe in high winds no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- Live on the coastline, an offshore island or near a river or a flood plain.
- Live in a high rise building. Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
What to Bring to a Shelter …
First-aid kit; medicine, prescriptions; baby food and diapers; games, books, music players with headphones; toiletries; battery-powered radio and cell phone; flashlights; extra batteries; a blanket or sleeping bag for each person; identification; copies of key papers such as insurance policies; cash, credit card.
If Staying in a Home...
- Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Fill bathtub and large containers with water in case clean tap water is unavailable. Use water in bathtubs for cleaning and flushing only. Do NOT drink it.
If Winds Become Strong...
- Stay away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
- Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
- If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first floor room.
- If you are in a multi-story building and away from water, go to the 1st or 2nd floor and stay in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows.
- Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.
Be Alert For...
- Tornadoes—they are often spawned by hurricanes.
- The calm “eye” of the storm—it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.
After the Storm…
- Keep listening to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.
- Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
- Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
- Stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines.
- Never use a generator indoors.
- Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads.
- Once home, check gas, water and electrical and appliances for damage.
- Use a flashlight to inspect damage. Never use candles and other open flames indoors.
- Wear proper shoes to prevent cutting feet on sharp debris. 9 Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.
- Avoid electrocution by not walking in areas with downed power lines
More safety and preparedness material is online at: Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.ready.gov; American Red Cross: www.redcross.org; NOAA National Weather Service: www.weather.gov/safety.php.