Hurricane Preparedness

With today being the first day of Hurricane Season, we thought it would be a good idea to pull together many recommendations from several different sources.  Remember that it is important to Plan, Prepare and Review.

Objective

Plan and prepare ahead of time for a hurricane by knowing the difference between a Watch and Warning; by preparing a personal evacuation plan; by assembling a disaster supply kit; by knowing what to do when a hurricane watch is issued; by identifying what to do when a hurricane warning is issued; and knowing what to do after a hurricane is over.

Before the Storm

  • Determine safe evacuation routes inland.
  • Learn the location of official shelters.
  • Make emergency plans for pets.
  • Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and cell phones.
  • Buy food that will keep and store drinking water.
  • Buy plywood or other material to protect your home.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery.
  • Decide where to move any recreational vehicles, boats, etc.
  • Review your insurance policy and determine if you need flood insurance.
  • Ask a long distance friend or family member to be your “family contact”.  During an emergency you will keep in touch with that person and they will tell everyone elsewhere you are.
  • Learn how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your home.

During the Storm

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watch

(Issued when storm conditions are expected within 48 hours of your area)

  • Frequently listen to radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins of the storm’s progress.
  • Review evacuation routes.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles.
  • Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
  • Have extra cash on hand.
  • Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first-aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
  • Bring in lightweight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture.
  • Plan to leave your home if you live in a mobile home.  They are unsafe in high winds no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • Plan to leave your home if you live on the coastline, an offshore island, or near a river or a flood plain.
  • Plan to leave your home if you live in a high-rise building.  Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Warning

(Issued when storm conditions are expected within 36 hours of your area)

  • Closely monitor radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for all hazards and for official bulletins.
  • Close storm shutters or install window protection.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials.  Leave immediately if ordered!
  • Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
  • Take pets with you if possible, but remember, most public shelters do not allow pets other than those used by the handicapped.  Identify pet-friendly motels along your evacuation route.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.

If staying in your home…

  • Stay indoors away from windows.
  • Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and keep closed.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fill bathtub and large containers with water in case tap water is unavailable.  Use water in bathtubs for cleaning and flushing only.  Do NOT drink it.

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 1st floor room.
  • If you are in a multi-story building and away from water, go to the 1st or 2nd floor and stay in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.

Be Alert for…

  • Tornadoes-They are often spawned by hurricanes.  Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Calm “eye” of the storm – This calm is deceptive.  It may seem like the storm is over but after the “eye” passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.  Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Storm surge flooding – These high waves can be more deadly than hurricane winds.  Leave the coast and stay away from low lying areas, creeks, streams and other inland waterways.
  • Flood waters – If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way.  If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the vehicle and climb to higher ground.

After the Storm

  • Keep listening to the radio, TV or NOAA Weather radio.
  • Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
  • Watch for closed roads.  If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, turn around.
  • Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads.
  • Stay on firm ground.  Moving water, only 6 inches deep, can sweep you off of your feet.  Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines.
  • Once home, check gas, water and electrical lines and appliances for damage.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.  Never use candles and other open flames indoors.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both the house and its contents for insurance claims.
  • If using a generator, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by following manufacturer’s instructions.

Avoid electrocution by not walking in flooded areas with downed power lines.