Action plan for hurricanes.
- Determine the hurricane risk in your area.
- Put together a Family Disaster Plan. It is important to review the plan often so that all family members, including children, understand it and know what to do in case of a hurricane.
- Put together a Disaster Supplies Kit for your home and a smaller one for your car.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home. Test monthly and change the batteries once a year.
- Learn how to use an ABC-type fire extinguisher and make sure it remains charged.
- Learn about your community's hurricane plan and the disaster plans at your workplace and your child's school.
- Find out where the nearest evacuation center or shelter is located.
- Understand the warnings and watches issued by the National Weather Service regarding hurricanes. Warnings and watches are issued for a particular area so it is important to know the name of your county or parish.
- A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of a hurricane within 24 to 36 hours.
- A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less.
- Develop a family evacuation plan.
- Make sure all family members know where to go if they have to evacuate.
- Have more than one route of evacuation in case your primary route is blocked.
- Determine the items that will need to be moved inside when a hurricane threatens. The winds of a hurricane can blow even heavy objects around, potentially causing damage and injury.
- Remove debris from outside your home and trim trees and shrubs.
- Install permanent hurricane shutters OR install anchors on windows and predrill holes in plywood. Protect glass doors, as well.
- Hurricane winds can destroy a home if they enter through a broken window.
- Taping windows is not recommended because it does not protect the windows from breaking.
- Be prepared to protect your home before a hurricane threatens. Waiting will increase the likelihood that stores will be sold out of necessary items.
- Inventory the items in your home for insurance purposes.
When a Hurricane Watch Is Issued
- Listen for updated information on a NOAA Weather Radio or a battery-powered radio or television.
- Fill your car with gas in case you need to evacuate.
- If you live in a manufactured home, check the tie-downs.
- Secure loose items outside of your home.
- Prepare your windows and glass doors.
- Check your Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the highest setting and try not to open the doors. If you lose power, your food will remain cold longer.
- Unplug small appliances, turn off propane tanks and be prepared to turn off your utilities if authorities in your community say you should do so.
- Review your evacuation plans.
When a Hurricane Warning Is Issued
- Listen for updated information and evacuation instructions on a NOAA Weather Radio or battery-powered radio or television.
- Be prepared to evacuate, if told to do so.
- If you live in a manufactured home, evacuate immediately.
- If you evacuate:
- Leave as soon as possible.
- Turn off your electricity and water supply and secure your home.
- Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
- If you live in a storm surge or flooding zone, and if time permits, move furniture and valuables to a higher floor.
- Bring your disaster supplies and warm clothing to the shelter.
- If you do not evacuate:
- Stay inside on the first floor, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
- Lie on the floor under a sturdy object.
- Close all interior doors and secure exterior doors.
- Store extra drinking water in clean bathtubs and sinks and plastic bottles.
- If you lose power, unplug appliances.
- Watch for flooding and tornadoes.
- Listen for updates and instructions on a NOAA Weather Radio or battery-powered radio or television.
- Return home only when you are told that it is safe.
- Check yourself for injuries. Help others who are injured (only move those who may be further injured).
- Wear sturdy shoes.
- Watch for broken glass, debris, spills and downed power lines.
- Stay dry to avoid the risk of hypothermia.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
- If it is safe to re-enter your home, inspect for damage to the electrical, gas, sewage and water systems.
- If there are sparks or broken wires, turn off the electricity (unless you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker).
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, open a window and leave the building. If possible, turn off the gas from the main valve outside and call the gas company. The gas can only be turned back on by a professional.
- If you think there is sewage damage, avoid using the toilet.
- If you suspect water system damage, avoid using water from the tap.
- Use the telephone for life-threatening emergencies only.
- Use a flashlight and not candles, which can ignite flammable materials.
- Watch out for fire hazards.
- Watch out for animals, especially snakes, that may have entered your home with floodwater.
- Stay away from floodwater.
- Do not try to walk through flooded areas. As little as 6 inches of water can knock you off your feet.
- Do not try to drive through flooded areas. The road may be washed away and as little as 2 feet of water can move a vehicle.
- Floodwater can contain dangerous debris or fallen power lines.
- Floodwater can contain chemicals, sewage and other contaminants that cause disease.
- Avoid drinking or cooking with tap water until you are sure that it is not contaminated. Do not use this water for brushing your teeth either.
- You can use water from undamaged hot water heaters or melt ice cubes if you cannot use your water supply.
Last updated October 10, 2013