When a hurricane is headed your way, it’s important to know what to pack and to have the necessary items close at hand. Pack a hurricane kit with these items recommended by FEMA.
- 1 gallon of water per person per day
- Non-perishable food
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio/NOAA weather radio with extra batteries
- Cell phone with charger
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Prescription medication
- First Aid Kit
- Personal hygiene items
- Baby care items (formula, diapers, bottles, etc)
- Pet care items (food, water, leash, etc)
- Copies of important documents, such as insurance policies and bank records, in a waterproof container
- Complete change of clothes for each person
- Sturdy shoes/rain boots
- Blankets/Sleeping bags
- Tarp and garbage bags
- Aluminum foil and plastic bags
- Plastic utensils, cups and plates
- Books, games and playing cards
- Work gloves
- Tool kit
- Matches in waterproof container
- Whistle to signal for help
- Paper and pencil
- Local map
How Do I Prepare?
Only God knows when a hurricane will strike your area. But you can help minimize the disruption a hurricane causes by having a plan in place. There are a number of things you can do to prepare for a hurricane, according to FEMA and Ready.gov, including:
Stock up on emergency supplies. Have a week’s supply of water, plenty of nonperishable food items and refill necessary prescriptions for family members, including pets.
Create an evacuation route for all family members. Identify two meeting places: one right outside the home and another outside the neighborhood in case access to the home is cut off. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of the second meeting place.
Identify the location of hurricane shelters.
Fill vehicles’ gas tanks and make sure to have a car charger for cell phones.
Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when the storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
Identify levees and dams in your area, and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
Cover all of your home’s windows.Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8″ marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
Install a generator for emergencies.
If in high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
Consider building a safe room.
During a Hurricane
When a hurricane strikes your local area, the key to helping minimize the chaos is to have a series of steps to follow. According to FEMA and Ready.gov, you should do the following:
Listen to the radio or TV for information
Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed
Turn off propane tanks
Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies
Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
Find out how to keep food safe during and after an emergency.
YOU SHOULD EVACUATE UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure; such as shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground
- If you live in a high-rise building; hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river or on an island waterway
After a Hurricane
The storm has passes, but the real work is just beginning. To begin recovering from a hurricane disaster, FEMA and Ready.gov recommend the following:
- If you have become separated from your family, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site at www.safeandwell.org (The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. DO not contact the chapter in the disaster area.)
- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
- For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects, downed electrical wires, weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
- Stay out of any building if you small gas, if floodwaters remain around the building or if you home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or a structural engineer before entering.
- Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build in these areas and can linger for houses, even after the generator has shut off.