The time to prepare for a hurricane is before it strikes.
The National Weather Service advises every family to have a disaster plan. Here are some things you should discuss now:
- Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
- Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
- Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
- Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
NWS recommends that every household have a disaster supply kit, containing items that are usually scattered around the home and should be brought together in one place:
- Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days
- Food - at least enough for 3-7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools and fuel
— disposable plates and utensils
- Blankets and pillows
- Clothing: Seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
- First aid kit, medicines and prescription drugs
- Special items for babies and the elderly
- Toiletries, hygiene items, wet wipes
- Flashlight and batteries
- Radio: Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
- Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
- Cash (with some small bills) and credit cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
- Toys, books and games
- Important documents in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag. Include insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
- Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
- Vehicle fuel tanks filled
- Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash
The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has tips for protecting property:
- Cover all of your home's windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
- Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Install a generator for emergencies
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
- Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visitingwww.FoodSafety.gov.