What to do before Hurricane season begins
What to do during a Hurricane Watch
What to do during a Hurricane Warning
What to do in the Aftermath of a Hurricane
Before Hurricane Season Begins:
- Know the hurricane risks for your area. Find out if your home is subject to storm surge flooding.
- Inspect your property for potential problems that may arise during a hurricane.
- Investigate flood insurance. Your local Emergency Management Office or your insurance agent can inform you about the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Inventory your property by making a list, taking photographs, or making a video. Store in a secure, dry place like your safety deposit box.
- Devise an emergency communications plan with your family so that you will know what to do in the event you are separated.
- Make sure that family members know how to respond during a hurricane emergency. Teach them how and when to cut of gas, electricity, and water.
- Plan your evacuation route. Include information about the safest routes and nearby emergency shelters. Time your route during peak traffic.
- Make advance arrangements for pets. Emergency shelters do not take pets!
- Consider purchasing UV-resistant tarps and other tools needed to make temporary repairs.
- Prepare your disaster kit. Have enough supplies for three days.
During a Hurricane Watch (Hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours)
- Fuel your automobile; do not wait until a hurricane warning is issued.
- Check your emergency supplies and stock up on needed supplies.
- Be ready to board up windows of your home or business in case a warning is issued.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools, as they may become airborne during hurricane-force winds, causing damage to your property, possibly your neighbors' property, and/or possibly to other people.
- If evacuation has not already been recommended or ordered, consider leaving early to avoid long hours on the roads. Remember that weather conditions will deteriorate quickly as the hurricane approaches. Take blankets, pillows, and other personal and comfort items to the shelter.
- Communicate with your family members often and be ready to act quickly should a hurricane warning be issued. Time is on your side at this point, but conditions can change from hour to hour.
- Stay tuned to television and radio for official bulletins of the hurricane's progress.
During a Hurricane Warning:(Hurricane conditions are forecast for an area within 24 hours or less).
- If you live in a mobile home, secure it and evacuate to a safe place.
- If your doctor has advised that any ill or disabled persons in your home stay elsewhere, move them now. If you have someone with special needs such as oxygen or nursing care, check with your Emergency Management Office for special needs shelter locations.
- Prepare for high winds by bracing garage doors, lowering antennas and anchoring loose objects that are outside and that cannot be brought indoors.
- If you own a boat, move it to a designated safe place.
- Keep your radio, flashlights, and extra batteries nearby. The power may go out without warning. Avoid using candles, but if you must use them, NEVER LEAVE YOUR CANDLES UNATTENDED.
- Keep paying close attention to radio and television for official information, or changes in the hurricane's intensity or direction and speed of movement.
- When your preparations are complete, consider offering assistance to your neighbors, particularly families with very young children, elderly, or disabled persons.
- During the hurricane, resist the temptation to go outside or watch through windows. Hurricane-force winds, downed live power lines, and falling or flying debris (trees) all pose serious danger.
- As the winds increase, move to a room within a room, such as an interior closet of a bathroom.
- If the 'eye' moves over your location, again resist the urge to go outside. Hurricane-force winds, heavy rains, and accompanying dangers will resume rapidly. Winds will return from the opposite direction.
In the Aftermath of a Hurricane:
- If the hurricane was severe and radio and television are not available, official information will be posted at public facilities such as fire departments, churches, schools, and community centers.
- Help injured or trapped persons, giving first aid when necessary. However, do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
- Keep an eye on children and make sure that their feelings are taken into consideration as you begin the recovery process. Children cannot communicate their feelings as well as adults.
- Avoid loose or dangling power lines; report any to the proper authorities.
- Check refrigerated foods for spoilage and discard any rotten food properly.
- Water supplies may be contaminated after a hurricane. Do not drink the water until authorities say it is safe.
- Do not turn on electrical switches until you are sure they are safe to use.
- Check for gas leaks, starting at the hot water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get everyone outside. Turn off all appliances and shut off utilities.
- Check for fire hazards or household hazards. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, and other flammable liquids immediately and safely.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- Be aware of snakes, bees, and other dangerous animals that may be more aggressive as a result of the storm. Animals may take refuge on your property if it is dry and their habitat is flooded.
- Use 911 for emergencies only. Remember that Fire, Rescue, and Police crews will be overwhelmed with the recovery effort.
- Take extra precautions to avoid fire. Lowered water pressure, among other problems, as a result of the hurricane may make fire-fighting difficult. Do not burn any debris until permission is granted to do so by proper authorities.
- Walk or drive cautiously. Watch out for debris-filled streets and weakened bridges.
- Intersections with malfunctioning stoplights must be treated as a four-way stop.
- Take photographs or video any damage to your property for insurance purposes. Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Beware of unscrupulous contractors who may show up.
- Cash donations are preferred during relief efforts unless specific goods are requested.
- It may take some time to get your life back to normal. Be thankful that you survived and do what you can to be a part of the recovery process. But most importantly, have patience.