Hurricane Preparedness: Tips & Helpful Information

Before a Hurricane

During a Hurricane

After a Hurricane

  • Build an emergency kit: Emergency Kit Checklist
  • Know your property’s elevation and if the land is prone to flood.
  • Learn your community’s evacuation routes. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you need to evacuate.
  • Develop a family communication plan in case you become separated.
  • Secure your property and bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Charge cell phones and electronic devices
  • If you have a boat, determine how and where you will secure it.
  • Cover all windows with storm shutters or plywood. Do not tape windows and/or glass doors. Taping glass will not prevent breakage.
  • Be sure all trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged gutters and downspouts.
  • If possible, install a generator. Keep extra gasoline and oil.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for information
  • Turn off utilities and propane tanks. Turn refrigerator and freezer thermostats to the coldest setting and keep the doors closed.
  • Except for serious emergencies, do not use your phone.
  • If possible, moor your boat.
  • Ensure water supply for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
  • Fill bathtubs and other larger containers with water.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, use your evacuation plan.
  • If you are unable to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors and secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room closet or hallway or on the lowest level if you are in a multi-level home or building.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Continue listening to the TV (if you are able to do so) or radio for the latest updates
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding
  • Use your family communication plan to contact family members if you have become separated (the American Red Cross maintains a database to help find family members. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information – Do NOT contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you had to evacuate, only return home when officials have advised that it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate shelter needs, text SHELTER + your zip to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelters in your area. FEMA can also help with longer term shelter needs and has several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing.
  • Drive only if necessary. If you must drive, watch for fallen debris, downed electrical wires, etc. Report downed lines immediately to the power company.
  • Do not enter any building that smells of gas or if there are floodwaters around the building.
  • Inspect your home for damage. If any, take pictures of the building and contents.
  • Do NOT use candles, use battery powered flashlights. NOTE: The flashlight should be turned on BEFORE entering the building – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Keep your pets under your direct control and watch them closely. Look out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are sure it is not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for
    spoilage – if in doubt, throw it out.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, garage, crawlspace, shed or other similar area even when opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has been shut off.


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