Preparing for a Hurricane

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Many people tend to wait until the last possible moment before preparing for a hurricane. Making it stressful and nearly impossible to get everything you might need. With a little planning you can be better prepared for a hurricane. Having a hurricane kit ready, getting your home secured (if you decide to stay home) and knowing what do in case of power outages can make a big difference.

Have Your Hurricane Kit

Having a kit of supplies that you could take with you if you are forced to evacuate can also be useful if you are able to stay in your home, but are still affected by the storm (as in power outages).

Some recommended items to include are:

  • Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
  • Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
  • Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
  • Waterproof container with cash and important documents
  • Manual can opener
  • Lighter or matches
  • Books, magazines, games for recreation
  • Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies

You should keep your kit in a bag that can be easily taken with you if you need to evacuate.

Get Your Home Ready

If a hurricane is coming, you may hear an order to evacuate (leave your home). Never ignore an order to evacuate. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. You may also hear an order to stay at home. Sometimes, staying at home is safer than leaving.

If you do plan to stay home, here are a few things you can do to prepare your home for the storm:

  • Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.
  • Cover up windows and doors outside. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.
  • Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home.
  • Fill clean water containers with drinking water in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
  • Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
  • Lower the thermostat in your refrigerator and freezer to the coolest possible temperature. If your power goes out, your food will stay fresh longer.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, and rush to get extra gas for cars and generators…causing gas stations to run out of gas.
  • If you need to evacuate, have an evacuation plan ready. Find out where the nearest shelter is and the different routes you can take to get there if you have to leave your home

Power Outages

In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider that can help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness.

  • Report any power outages to your service provider.
  • Have extra cash on hand in the event no ATMs in your area are accessible or working.
  • Charge your cell phone and limit use after power is out.
  • Losing A/C can be the most uncomfortable side effect of losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up your windows on the inside.
  • During severe weather or power outages, turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. After the power is restored, wait five to 10 minutes before turning them back on.

For additional information on power outages and home safety, visit CDC-Natural Disasters and Severe Weather