Hurricane Tips

Be Prepared!

"Preventing the loss of life and minimizing the damage to property from hurricanes are responsibilities that are shared by all."

Throughout this Web site, information has been provided regarding actions that you can take based on specific hurricane hazards. The most important thing that you can do is to be informed and prepared. Disaster prevention includes both being prepared as well as reducing damages (mitigation).

Disaster Prevention should include:

One of the most important decisions you will have to make is "Should I Evacuate?"

If you are asked to evacuate, you should do so without delay. But unless you live in a coastal or low-lying area, an area that floods frequently, or in manufactured housing, it is unlikely that emergency managers will ask you to evacuate. That means that it is important for you and your family to HAVE A PLAN that makes you as safe as possible in your home.

Disaster prevention includes modifying your home to strengthen it against storms so that you can be as safe as possible. It also includes having the supplies on hand to weather the storm. The suggestions provided here are only guides. You should use common sense in your disaster prevention.

  • DEVELOP A FAMILY PLAN – Your family’s plan should be based on your vulnerability to the Hurricane Hazards. You should keep a written plan and share your plan with other friends or family.
  • CREATE A DISASTER SUPPLY KIT – There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. The disaster supply kit is a useful tool when you evacuate as well as making you as safe as possible in your home.
  • SECURE YOUR HOME – There are things that you can do to make your home more secure and able to withstand stronger storms.
  • ONLINE VULNERABILITY INFOThere are web sites that can give you information about your communities vulnerability to specific hazards. These include hurricanes as well as other weather related hazards.






  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage – flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. National Flood Insurance Program
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
  • Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.

Preparing Yourself For Hurricane Season

NEW YORK, June 4, 2007

(MarketWatch) June ushers in the Atlantic hurricane season and weather forecasters say that the storms of 2007 may rival those of 2005, the worst year on record. There is a 75 percent chance of “above normal” hurricane activity this year, warns the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Here are five simple precautions you can take to protect your home and family from a hurricane:

Have an evacuation plan

Designate a family meeting spot where you can seek shelter and make sure everyone knows how to get there. To be safe, keep a map in the glove box of the car with the route to the family meeting spot marked in indelible ink. Don’t forget to make arrangements for family pets. Not all shelters are animal friendly.

Choose A Point Of Contact
Speak to a friend or relative out of state about being a point of contact in case you are separated. Ask if you can use his or her home as a gathering place if needed.

Prepare A Disaster Kit
Put together a portable kit, including three days worth of food and water, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, an emergency contact list, soap and other personal hygiene items, cash or credit card, and first aid materials. If anyone in your family requires regular medication, be sure to include an ample supply in the kit.

Consult A Contractor
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, have an expert examine your home to determine if the shutters or hurricane straps need to be reinforced.

Purchase Insurance
Buy flood and property policies to cover damage to your home and belongings. Remember that there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage begins.

For further information, visit the FEMA Web site. For immediate aid call 1-800-621-FEMA.


Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • Make plans to secure 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.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Consider building a safe room.

During a Hurricane

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks. Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure-such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building-hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

Recovering from Disaster

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.

  • What health and safety guidelines should I follow?
  • How do I clean my damaged home or repair and rebuild it safely for the future?
  • What precautions should I take when returning home?
  • Where can I get assistance?
  • How do I cope with the emotional effects of a disaster?
  • How can I help children cope with the emotional effects of a disaster?
  • How can I help someone affected by a disaster?

Specific Disaster Recovery Information

  • Dam Failure
  • Earthquake
  • Fire or Wildfire
  • Flood
  • Hazardous Material Incident
  • Landslide
  • Thunderstorm
  • Tsunami
  • Wildfire