Hurricane & Emergency Preparedness
- Know if you live in an evacuation area. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Have a written family plan based on this knowledge.
- At the beginning of the hurricane season, check your supplies, replace batteries, and use food stocks on a rotating basis.
- During the hurricane season, monitor the tropics.
- Monitor National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio and local television broadcasts.
- If a storm threatens, heed the advice from local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
- Execute your family plan.
- Tropical Storm - Winds 39 to 73 miles per hour (mph)
- Category 1 Hurricane - Winds 74 to 95 mph
No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes. Some damage to poorly constructed signs.
- Category 2 Hurricane - Winds 96 to 110 mph
Some damage to building roofs, doors, and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Some trees were blown down.
- Category 3 Hurricane - Winds 111 to 130 mph
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees were blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed.
- Category 4 Hurricane - Winds 131 to 155 mph
Wall failures in homes and complete roof structure failure on small homes. Total destruction of mobile homes. Trees, shrubs, and signs all blown down.
- Category 5 Hurricane - Winds 156 mph and Up
Complete roof failure on homes and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures. Severe and extensive window and door damage.
Discuss different hazards with your family, and monitor TV, weather radio, or trusted internet sites for information.
Make a Plan
Think ahead and create a family emergency plan. Discuss with your family what you will do if you must evacuate, how you will get there, and where you will find each other. Practice these plans and always keep a contact list. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, and learn how to turn off gas, electric, water and heater systems using the main breaker switch.
Learn first-aid and CPR, along with basic safety rules. Make sure your children know what to do if they are home alone, and remember to make plans for your children, pets, and elderly ones.
- Collect - Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people and offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.
- Practice - Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan. You can also create wallet-sized cards that include contact information and emergency meeting places.
- Share - Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
Have an Emergency Kit
Always be sure to have two emergency kits ready in case of a disaster; one large kit with 3 days of supplies, and a smaller, portable kit in case you must evacuate the area. Kits should include:
- Bathroom supplies
- Battery Powered Radio
- Canned and dried food that does not require refrigeration
- Credit cards and cash
- Duct tape
- Emergency Contact List
- Face Masks
- Fire extinguisher
- First-Aid kit
- Flashlight or lantern with batteries
- Heavy garbage bags or tarps
- Important documents
- Manual can opener
- One gallon of water per person per day. You should have at least enough water for three days
- Pet supplies
- Prescription Drugs
- Sleeping bags or cots
- Soap and Hand Sanitizer
- Special Needs - Such as infant supplies, hearing aid batteries, diabetic supplies or glasses
- Waterproof container
Possible Grocery List
- Apples, bananas, oranges and other fruit
- Baby food, diapers, and formula, and sterile water
- Bottled water
- Bread, crackers
- Canned fruit
- Canned meat and fish
- Canned/boxed beverages
- Fruit drinks
- Ice and charcoal
- Paper towels
- Peanut butter/jelly
- Pet foods
- Plastic forks, paper plates, and napkins
- Pre-moistened towelettes
- Raisins and other dried fruit
- Shelf-stable milk
- Toilet paper
If you evacuate you also should take:
- Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.
- Folding chairs, lawn chairs or cots
- Important papers (driver’s license, special medical information, insurance policies, and property inventories)
- Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
- Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattresses
- Quiet games, books, playing cards and favorite toys for children
Note: If the storm does not hit, save your supplies for the next storm. Once hurricane season is over, you can eat your canned foods or donate them to a holiday food drive. Most canned foods have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years, so it is a good idea to replenish yearly.
If you have to evacuate to a public shelter because of a disaster, keep in mind that animals may not be allowed inside. With proper planning, you can help ensure your pet’s safety if you have to separate. Just follow tips from the Ready Campaign, including:
- Assemble a pet disaster supply kit.
- Talk with your pet’s veterinarian about emergency planning.
- Plan with friends, neighbors, or relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
- Look for a boarding facility such as a kennel or veterinarian hospital that is near an evacuation facility or your family’s meeting place.
Remember to stay calm, have plans ready, and listen for instructions from local officials.