Hurricanes can be dangerous killers. Learning the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead can reduce the chances of injury or major property damage.
- Plan an evacuation route.
- Contact the Local
Emergency Management office or American
Red Cross chapter, and ask for the community hurricane
preparedness plan. This plan should include information on
the safest evacuation routes and nearby shelters.
- Learn safe routes inland.
- Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to
locate a safe place.
- Have disaster supplies on hand.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Nonelectric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
- Make arrangements for pets.
- Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters
for health and space reasons. Contact your local humane society
for information on local animal shelters.
- Make sure that all family members know how
to respond after a hurricane.
- Teach family members how and when to turn
off gas, electricity, and water.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1,
police, or fire department and which radio station to tune
to for emergency information.
- Protect your windows.
- Permanent shutters are the best protection.
A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2
inch plywood--marine plywood is best--cut to fit each window.
Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes
every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before the storm.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
- Check into flood insurance. You can find out
about the National Flood
Insurance Program through your local insurance agent or Local
Emergency Management Office. There is normally a
30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective.
Homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that
accompanies a hurricane.
- Develop an emergency communication plan.
- In case family members are separated from
one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the
day when adults are at work and children are at school), have
a plan for getting back together.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to
serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often
easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family
knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.. Print and fill out emergency contact information sheets.
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance
of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.
Investing in preventive mitigation steps now such as strengthening unreinforced
masonry to withstand wind and flooding and installing shutters on every window
will help reduce the impact of hurricanes in the future. For more information
on mitigation, contact your Local Emergency Management office
or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's
DURING A HURRICANE WATCH
A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television
for hurricane progress reports.
- Check emergency supplies.
- Fuel car.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture,
toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up
windows. Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings.
Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs,
bottles, and cooking utensils.
- Review evacuation plan.
- Moor boat securely or move it to a designated
safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer. Use
tie downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house.
DURING A HURRICANE WARNING
A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds
of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough
seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
- Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio
or television for official instructions.
- If in a mobile home, check tie downs and evacuate
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof
container on the highest level of your home.
- Avoid elevators.
- If at home:
- Stay inside, away from windows, skylights,
and glass doors.
- Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries
handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps,
as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances
to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
- More Evacuation information is available here.
IF OFFICIALS INDICATE EVACUATION IS NECESSARY:
- Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads
and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Secure your home by unplugging appliances
and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
- Tell someone outside of the storm area where
you are going.
- If time permits, and you live in an identified
surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or
better yet, move it to a higher floor.
- Bring pre-assembled emergency supplies and
warm protective clothing.
- Take blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
- Lock up home and leave.