Hurricane Preparedness Plan

Hurricane Preparedness

Having and practicing a hurricane preparedness plan, is an essential part of safety for people who live in a storm-prone area. The major decision that you must make when a threatening disaster approaches is - whether to stay or go.

Regardless of which decision... it is in your best interest to have your home and your evacuation kit prepared to the maximum extent possible, well in advance of the annual storm season.

Follow the steps below to increase your chances of surviving:

What a Hurricane WATCH and WARNING Means:

  1. WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
  2. WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.

Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan

Hurricane Evacuation Signs
  • Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places—a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Assemble a Hurricane Survival Kit

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener, or ready-to-eat meals.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rain wear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Pet emergency kit [dog kit and cat kit], and essential pet first aid supplies.

Hurricane Preparedness for High Winds

  • Install hurricane shutters or purchase pre-cut 1/2” outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

What To Do When A Hurricane WATCH Is Issued

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use pre-cut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.

What To Do When A Hurricane WARNING Is Issued

  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete hurricane preparedness activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm “eye” is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

Know What To Do AFTER A Hurricane Is Over

  • Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
  • If you are evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Inspect your home for damage.
  • Use flashlights or non-fuel lanterns at all times; avoid using candles.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

For more information on hurricane preparedness, contact your local Red Cross chapter, National Weather Service office, or emergency management agency. You can also visit these Web sites:

American Red Cross
National Weather Service
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Much of the information for this page obtained from the above organizations.
Top Photo Credit: FEMA photo/Win Henderson

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