Are you Prepared for the Storm?
Start a plan – it only takes a minute.
According to some surveys, more than 80 percent of homeowners have been completely unprepared for major storms. When it comes to hurricanes, don’t leave it to chance.
Below are basic steps to begin an emergency kit. These kits should be kept in easily accessible locations in the event of an emergency, whether it’s a power outage or evacuation. Use these lists to get started, but feel free to add other items the family may need.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends having at least two weeks’ worth of the following supplies:
- Water, one gallon per person per day for both drinking and sanitation
- Food, non-perishables and a manual can opener for food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Moist towelettes, and garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities
- Cell phone and portable charger
- Deck of cards or other small games
- Copies of birth certificates, Social Security Number, passports and other important documents in a sealable plastic bag
Don’t forget pets:
- At least five days supply of pet food
- Food/Water bowls
- Waste bags
- Pet toys
- Family photo with pet for proof of ownership, shots and medication list in a sealable plastic bag
In case pets are not allowed in a shelter, identify where to take pets until it is safe to return.
Stay or go?
- Always listen to the local authorities – they issue evacuation notices to keep the community safe. If an evacuation has not been issued, make an informed decision and understand the potential consequences to stay or leave during the storm.
Always plan to go if:
- You live in a manufactured or mobile home
- Your home was built prior to current hurricane building standards
- Your home is vulnerable to a storm surge or flooding
- An evacuation has been issued
- Know the Evacuation Plan. Each community has an evacuation plan. It’s important to know the route to safely evacuate the area in the event of an emergency. Having an alternate route can also be beneficial.
- Identify Shelter. Arrange for a safe place to stay (with family, friends, Red Cross location, hotel, etc.) before leaving. Create a list of emergency contacts and tell immediate family members the plan.
- Prepare the Home. Turn off electricity; brace entry points; lock windows and doors. Put important paperwork in the emergency kit or in a safe and secure location.
- Grab the Emergency Kit. The emergency kit should be packed. Don’t forget any medications, important paperwork or pets.
- Don’t Wait. Give yourself 24 to 36 hours of evacuation time before the storm hits landfall or an evacuation order has been issued. Don’t be surprised when there is traffic.
If you plan to stay:
Be flexible if planning to stay; if an evacuation order is issued, listen to local authorities and leave immediately. In the event no evacuation has been issued, below are recommended steps to help stay safe during the storm.
- Make a Plan.Identify the safest rooms in the home in the event of a power outage, high winds, flooding or other emergencies. If you don’t think your home will hold up against a hurricane, identify local shelters to stay in. If you have a pet, ensure they will be accepted or that there’s a location to board them until after the storm.
- Prepare the Home. Review insurance coverage. Trim trees and keep gutters clear. List and photograph valuables. Test the generator if you have one. Fill up the gas tank for the car and generators.
- Expand the Emergency Kit. If the power goes out and the storm causes obstacles in the roadways (downed trees or powerlines, flooding, debris, etc.), access to food, running water and power will be limited-to-none after a hurricane. Stock up on the essentials. REMEMBER: One person will use on average one gallon of water per day.