If you are in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane, take steps to prepare. Know what actions you should take and emergency supplies you’ll need.
Mitigation is deciding on which actions to take before, during, and after the next disaster — to reduce human and financial consequences later by analyzing, reducing, and insuring against risk.
Stay safe before, during, and after a tropical storm or hurricane
- Gather emergency supplies for your home and car.
- Never ignore an order to evacuate.
- Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector. Place generator and any gasoline-powered engine outside at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
Tropical Storms/Hurricanes – Mitigation (Actions Before, During, After)
Actions Before: Increase Knowledge, Determine Risk, Safeguard, Plan
General All-Hazard Actions:
- Determine the disaster risks in your locale and the hazards that accompany them.
- Increase your knowledge about the emergency warning signals and alert notifications used in your community.
- Instruct family members how to shut off water, gas and electricity to your house.
- Make the necessary property preparations to reduce the damage from the hazard.
- Acquire a backup generator in case of a prolonged power failure.
- Check into insurance (property, health, life, and hazard type).
- Make the necessary financial arrangements in case of a sudden evacuation and power outage that shuts down local ATMs and banks.
- Organize important documents and records and store them in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Perform home inventory video taping and store tape in a portable lock box or safe-deposit box.
- Develop an Emergency Communication Plan with evacuation plan and ask an out-of-state person to serve as the "family contact".
- Assemble a shelter-in-place Emergency Supplies Kit.
- Assemble a mobile Emergency Supplies Kit that can serve as a “grab and go” bag?
- Get a family member trained in first aid and CPR.
- Make the necessary preparations and arrangements for pets, seniors, and the disabled.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency plans of your family member's employment building, school, day care center, or nursing home.
Hazard Specific Actions:
- Know the duration of the hurricane season. It starts on June 1 and runs through November 30.
- Check flashlights and radios. Make sure you have batteries.
- Check trees and shrubbery, and remove limbs that could damage your house or utility lines.
- Plan an evacuation route and learn safe routes inland.
- Make arrangements for family pets because some emergency shelters may not allow pets.
Actions During: Safety Basics, Evacuation, Shelter in Place
Hurricane Watch (conditions within 24-36 hours):
- Listen to battery-operated radio for progress reports; check emergency supplies.
- Fuel car.
- Bring in outdoor objects.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows .
- Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings .
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, and bottles.
- Moor boat securely or move to a designated safe place; anchor trailer to ground.
- Review evacuation plan.
Hurricane Warning (conditions expected in 24 hours or less):
- Listen to radio for instructions.
- Tie down mobile home and evacuate immediately.
- Store valuables in waterproof container
- Avoid elevators.
If at home:
- Stay inside, away from anything glass.
- Keep a supply of batteries and flashlights.
- Avoid open flames as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power surge.
- If evacuation is necessary: leave ASAP, avoiding flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Secure home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
- If time permits, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding.
- Bring pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm clothing.
- Take blankets and sleeping bags to a shelter and leave immediately.
Actions After: Get Disaster Relief, Clean-up, Salvage
- Stay tuned to radio for information, returning home only when authorities advise it is safe to do so.
- Help injured or trapped persons and give first aid where appropriate.
- Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them to the power company or fire department.
- Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
- Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
- Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
- Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Use telephones only for emergency calls.
- American Red Cross, CDC – Emergency Preparedness and Response, FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide, Ready.gov, Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation, National Weather Service Weather Safety
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