What should I do before a hurricane?
• Know the terms that are used by your local weather forecasters:
– HURRICANE WATCH – A hurricane is possible within 48 hours. Stay tuned for additional advisories.
– HURRICANE WARNING – A hurricane is expected within 36 hours. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
• Listen for local radio or television weather forecasts. Purchase a NOAA weather radio with warning alarm tone and battery back-up.
• Learn evacuation routes. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
• Talk to your family about hurricanes. Plan a place to meet your family in case you are separated from one another in a disaster. Choose an out-of-state contact for everyone to call to say they are okay.
• Prepare to survive on your own for at least three days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Include a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, clothing and food and water.
• Make plans to protect your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8″ marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
• Know how to shut off utilities. Know where gas pilots are located and how the heating and air-conditioning system works.
• Have your home inspected for compliance with local building codes. Many of the roofs destroyed by hurricanes were destroyed because they were not constructed according to building codes.
• Consider flood insurance.
• Make a record of your personal property. Take photographs of or videotape your belongings.
What should I do if a hurricane threatens?
• Listen for information and instructions on radio or television newscasts. If a hurricane watch is issued, you have 36 to 48 hours before the hurricane hits land. A hurricane warning means that hurricane winds and storm tides are expected in a specific coastal area within 24-36 hours.
• Get together with family members to talk about what needs to be done. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and who to call, in case you are separated from one another.
• Secure your home. Close storm shutters. Secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors. Moor your boat if time permits.
• Gather several days supply of water and food for each family member. Water systems may become contaminated or damaged. Sterilize and fill the bathtub to ensure a supply of safe water.
• Make arrangements for pets. Pets may not be allowed into public shelters for health reasons.
• Prepare to evacuate. Fuel your car. Review evacuation routes. If instructed, turn off utilities at the main valves.
• Evacuate to an inland location if:
– Local authorities announce an evacuation and you live in an evacuation zone.
– You live in a mobile home or temporary structure – they are particularly hazardous during hurricanes.
– You live on the coast, on a flood plain near a river or inland waterway.
– You feel you are in danger.
• When authorities order an evacuation:
– Leave immediately to avoid being marooned by flooded roads and fallen trees.
– Follow evacuation routes announced by local officials via radio and television broadcasts.
– Stay away from coastal areas, river banks and streams until potential flooding is past.
– And tell others where you are going.
– If you are not required to evacuate, stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows. Do not be fooled if there is a lull, it could be the eye of the storm and winds will pick up again. Listen to the radio or television for information.
• Avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies.