Knowing what to do when a hurricane is expected in your area can mean the difference between life and death. And it can mean the difference between minimal and severe property damage as well. Here’s what you need to know.
Prepare for your safety and the safety of your loved ones:
Listen to TV and radio for information, and follow all instructions from authorities.
Ensure that your preparedness kit is fully stocked.
Review your hurricane evacuation plan and routes to local shelters.
Fill your car’s gas tank.
Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep doors shut so food will last longer in a power outage.
Prepare your home and property:
Bring anything that the wind could carry away inside (e.g., lawn furniture, bikes, etc.).
Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. (If you don’t have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.)
Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
Turn off utilities as instructed.
Tie down and secure boats.
Fill bathtubs and other large containers with water that may be used for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets after the storm.
Follow evacuation instructions from authorities.
Always evacuate mobile homes, temporary structures and high-rise buildings.
Always evacuate if you live on the coast, near water or on a floodplain.
Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
If you are unable to evacuate:
Close all interior doors, curtains and blinds.
Barricade exterior doors.
Stay indoors, away from glass doors and windows.
Take shelter in a small, windowless room, closet or hallway on the lowest level of your home.
Lie flat on the floor under a table, mattress or other sturdy object until the storm passes.
- Secure storm windows and doors.
- Close blinds and curtains and otherwise block windows to hamper flying glass in case of breakage from winds or flying debris.
- Listen to the radio or TV for instructions and advisories.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Turn off utilities if you are instructed to do so. If utilities are to be left on, set your refrigerator thermostat to its lowest setting. This will help preserve food longer if the power goes out.
- Fill bathtubs and sinks with water to ensure a clean supply for drinking or for hygiene.
- Avoid using the phone except for genuine emergencies. Emergency personnel will need the lines free so they can communicate with each other to save people.
- Stay indoors, avoiding windows and glass doors.
- Secure and brace exterior doors and close all interior doors.
- Get into a small interior room using anything you can as a shield, such as tables, mattresses and anything else that might deflect or absorb the impact of flying debris.
- Do not use elevators.