Provided by ReadyAmerica.gov
When you think of June, November and all of the months in between, it’s unlikely that a hurricane is the first thing that comes to mind. However, it’s during these 183 days that you and your family are at the greatest risk of experiencing Mother Nature’s fury. Don’t be a victim; be empowered and avoid getting blown away this hurricane season. Through a few simple steps and proper preparation, you can easily protect yourself, your loved ones and your home.
Here’s how to hunker down.
Step 1: Prepare a kit and a "to-go bag."
Have the essentials ready at a moment’s notice.
- Get an emergency supply kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, portable electronics and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car.
This kit should include:
- Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies
- Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
- Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight
- Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
- Make sure you have a "to-go bag" ready in case you need to evacuate. Your bag should
- Water and non-perishable food items
- Battery-operated radio and batteries so you can get important information from local officials
- First-aid kit
- Important documents, such as proof of residence; insurance policies; tax records; and pictures of your family, including pets
- Comfortable clothing and blankets
- Unique family needs, such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have
Step 2: Make a plan.
Prepare your family.
- Make a family emergency plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it's important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
- During a storm, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time – places, such as work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
- Plan to evacuate
- Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
- Identify several places you could go in an emergency: a friend’s home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
- If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
- If you have a car, keep a half-tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
- Take your emergency supply kit.
- Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters.
Step 3: Be informed.
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
- A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
- A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
- Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure and damage potential. Hurricanes classified Category Three and higher are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
|Scale Number (Category)
||Sustained Winds (MPH)
||74 – 95
||Minimal: unanchored mobile homes, vegetation and signs
||4 – 5 feet
||96 – 110
||Moderate: all mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, flooding
||6 – 8 feet
||Extensive: small buildings, low-lying roads cut off
||9 – 12 feet
||Extreme: roofs destroyed, trees down, roads cut off, mobile homes destroyed; beach homes flooded
||More than 155
||Catastrophic: most buildings destroyed, vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded
||Greater than 18 feet
- Hurricanes can produce widespread torrential rains. Floods are the deadly and destructive result. Slow-moving storms and tropical storms moving into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mudslides, especially in mountainous regions. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. Flooding on rivers and streams may persist for several days or more after the storm.
Prepare your home.
Preventive measures before disaster strikes could save you later.
- 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 the refrigerator closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Prepare your business.
Plan to stay in business, talk to your employees and protect
- Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
- Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
- Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible.
- Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
- Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
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