The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, peaking from August through October. If you live in an area that’s prone to these devastating storms, it’s important to take some time to prepare.
From stocking up on supplies to creating an evacuation plan, read on for everything you need to do to get ready if a hurricane is headed toward you.
Below are nine tips on how you should prepare for a hurricane.
1. CREATE A PLAN
When a hurricane is potentially heading your way, it is best to be ready days before.
Decide whether you are staying home or if you need to evacuate. Coastal locations are prone to a mandatory evacuation, so be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Just because you live inland doesn’t mean you won’t be told to evacuate. The orders to evacuate are issued based on historical flood maps and the strength of the storm.
If you are in a mobile home, leave. Mobile homes can sustain severe damage even during weaker storms.
2. KNOW YOUR EVACUATION ROUTE
The American Red Cross has evacuation routes for most states based on your county. State links are listed below:
3. LEARN THE LOCATION OF SHELTERS
If you plan to evacuate, you can find open shelters in your area via the FEMA Mobile App.
4. PREPARE SUPPLIES, LISTEN TO NEWS AND PREPARE TO LEAVE
Assemble supplies (nonperishable food, water, first-aid kit etc.) that are ready for evacuation, such as a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate.
Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
Secure your home, closing and locking doors and windows. Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provide some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
5. WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SHELTERING IN PLACE
If you have time before the storm, trim trees on your property, shop for approved window coverings, collect loose outdoor items, secure your doors and find a safe location for your vehicle.
You should cover all windows with shutters or plywood.
If you plan to ride the storm out at home, make sure you have a “safe room” to go into when the storm hits. If you don’t have a storm shelter, you should be in an interior room of the house (no outside walls, if possible).
Consider purchasing a generator. If you do, never run it inside your house.
6. MAKE A COMMUNICATION PLAN
Devise a family communication plan. It can be difficult to keep in touch with family members during a storm.
Whether you are staying at home or evacuating, make sure you let someone know where you are or where you are going, such as an out-of-state family or friend.
Fill out FEMA’s Family Communication Plan Cards to make sure everyone has all the important information with them.
Keep your furbabies safe! Never leave pets behind to ride out a storm.
- List of hotels that accept pets.
- Link to pet-friendly emergency shelters.
- Link to an Emergency Route Planner (It will show you hotels and shelters that accept pets along the route you enter).
- Tips from the American Humane Society on preparing your pet for hurricanes.
8. PREPARE FINANCIAL, INSURANCE AND OTHER RECORDS
- Financial record organizer (FEMA).
- Tips on how to create a home inventory to help with insurance claims.
- Hurricane insurance guide.
9. PUT TOGETHER A SURVIVAL KIT
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
- Can opener for food.
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change.
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air.
- Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book.
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
- Fire extinguisher.
- First-aid kit.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Food — at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Click/tap here for a list of food that doesn’t need refrigeration.
- Household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper. Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach to use as a disinfectant.
- Identification and bank account records; store them in a waterproof, portable container
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies.
- Infant formula and diapers.
- Local maps.
- Matches in a waterproof container, or waterproof matches (look for them at places that sell camping equipment).
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, plastic utensils and paper towels.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Paper and pencil.
- Pet food and extra water for your pet.
- Prescription medications and glasses.
- Sheeting and duct tape.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Water — one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
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