Being prepared is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the dangers of a hurricane. Learning how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do in a hurricane, and what steps to take following the hurricane can help keep you and your family safe during a storm.
Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane
- Plan a Route of Evacuation. Do a little research and see if your community has a hurricane evacuation plan that you can use. Contacting the Red Cross in your area is a good way to find a pre-made evacuation route for your town that can lead you to a shelter or other safe areas. Be prepared to drive a distance to get far enough inland that you will be safe. Keep a full gas can on hand in case you need to fill up your tank before you leave. There’s a good chance that the gas stations will have long lines as all of your neighbors will be evacuating the area at the same time.
- Put Together an Emergency Kit that Includes:
- A family emergency sheet complete with emergency contacts, phone numbers, doctor & medical information
- An extra set of clothes, including shoes and underwear, for each person in your household
- Enough cash to sustain you for a few days, including lodging, gasoline, and food expenses
- A first aid kit
- Three days worth of food for each member of your household. Try to use non-perishable foods if you can.
- One gallon of water per person per day (3 days worth)
- A flashlight or lantern with extra batteries
- Battery operated radios with extra batteries
- Walkie-talkies with extra batteries
- Prescription and generic medications
- Take Care of Your Pets. If your plan is to go to a shelter, you might not be allowed to take your pets. Call your local animal shelter to see what they would recommend you arrange for your pet during an emergency. If you’re keeping your pet with you, be sure and have enough food and water for 3 days as well as any necessary pet medication. Be sure and keep a copy of your pet’s vaccination papers with your emergency kit.
- Communicate with Your Family Members
- Teach each person in the household how and when to turn off the utilities
- Teach each person, specifically children, when and how to call 911
- Let each household member know which radio station will give them emergency information. You can write the radio station number on your emergency sheet.
- Prepare a plan together on how you will communicate during a hurricane
- Determine which out-of-state family member will be your emergency contact and make sure each person has their phone number and name memorized
What do to in a Hurricane
If something happens and you find yourself stuck in the middle of the hurricane, it is not too late to take some steps to save your life.
- Listen to your battery operated radio to stay updated on the hurricane and follow their advice
- Turn off your utilities if you can get to them safely
- Stay indoors. When the eye of the storm passes by, it will feel calmer, but don’t be fooled. The wind will undoubtedly pick up again and you could get hurt if you go outdoors.
- Stay away from the windows. Try to huddle with every household member in a central hallway, closet or in the center most part of the house. If you can’t get to the center of your home, try to get to a windowless bathroom, shut the door and hunker down into the tub.
What to do After a Hurricane
- Stay indoors until you hear an official report that you are safe to go out
- Do not touch any power lines that may have fallen down and stay away from running water or water that has electrical wires in it
- Only call 911 to report a life threatening situation
- Call the utility company to report hazardous situations in regards to power lines, gas lines, etc
- Be careful on roads or bridges that have been weakened
- Do not operate propane stoves inside the house
- Continue to stay updated through your radio or on your television so you can be informed of any dangerous situations that may be near
- Call your out-of-state contact to let them know that everybody in the household is safe
For more information on how to prepare for a hurricane and what to do in a hurricane, go to the National Hurricane Center at www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php. You might want to bookmark this site or print out the web pages so you have the information close at hand in case an emergency arises.