Prepare

  • Know the hurricane risks in your area – learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
  • Learn about local community's sheltering plans, including the location of official shelters.
  • Know the Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area that will carry official information.  Monitor NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, if possible.
  • Learn the warning signals and evacuation plans of your community.
  • Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand.
  • Have at least ten days of any medications you need on hand.
  • Determine if your family has any additional needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs. For example: If you have a family member on a life-support system, does your electric utility know about it? Individuals with functional needs or others requiring more information should contact their local emergency management office.
  • Make plans now on what to do with your pets should you be required to evacuate your residence.  Some shelters, hotels or motels do not allow pets. 
  • Teach all family members, including children, how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local EMS phone number.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
  • Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
  • Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
  • Install safety features in your residence such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Check your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect your belongings.
  • Review your insurance policy. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Inventory household items with photographs.
  • Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
  • Determine where to move your boat in an emergency.

Act (During a Hurricane)

As the Storm Approaches
  • Secure by tying down or bring inside lawn furniture, trash cans, tools and hanging plants that could be projectiles during the storm.
  • If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.
  • If you are advised to evacuate your home, evacuate.  If you do not feel safe in your home, move to a secure location. 
  • In structures, such as a home, examine the building and plan in advance what you will do if winds become strong.  Strong winds can produce harmful projectiles and result in structural failure.
  • Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Unplug major appliances.
  • Fill large containers with water.
If Winds Become Strong
  • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered.  Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
  • Close all interior doors.  Secure and brace external doors.
  • If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • If you are in a multiple-story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floors and take refuge in the halls or other interior rooms away from the windows.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Remain indoors during the hurricane.  Do not be fooled by the "eye" or the lull that occurs as the storm center moves overhead.  The other side of the hurricane "eye" has winds that will rapidly increase and will come from the opposite direction.

Evacuation

  • If an evacuation is ordered by local government officials - do so!  The temptation to "tough it out" can put lives at risk - yours and the personnel who may be sent on an otherwise avoidable rescue mission.
  • Follow the instructions and advice of local government officials.  If you are advised to evacuate, do so promptly.  If you are advised to go to a certain location, go there.  Do not go anywhere else.
  • If certain travel routes are advised, use those routes rather than trying to find short cuts.  If you are told to shut off water, gas or electrical service to your home before leaving, do so.  Also, find out from the broadcast reports where emergency housing and feeding stations are located, in case you need to use them.
  • Leave as soon as officials instruct that you do to avoid being marooned on flooded highways.
  • Make certain you have enough fuel for your car.
  • As you travel, keep listening to the radio for additional instructions.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires and falling or fallen objects.
  • Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may flood suddenly.
  • Do not try to cross a stream or pool of water unless you are certain that the water will not be over your knees, or above the middle of the wheels of your car, all the way across.  Sometimes water will hide a bridge or part of a road that has been washed out.
  • If you decide it is safe to cross an area with water, place your car in a low gear and drive very slowly to avoid splashing water into your engine, causing it to stop.  Brakes may not work well after a car has been in deep water, so try them a few times when you reach the other side.