Hurricane Preparation Checklist
Hurricanes are some of the most destructive storm systems that can occur on our planet. They form over warm water and cause devastation when they make landfall. Powerful winds, heavy rains, damaging storm surges, landslides and flooding are just some of the potential threats of these storms.
The ravages of hurricane season last until November 30. Now that winter has arrived, the potential for damage may be behind us for now, but the Pacific hurricane season returns on May 15, and Atlantic hurricanes start up again on June 1. It’s never too early to familiarize yourself with a hurricane preparation checklist. Here’s what you need to know about staying safe before, during and after a hurricane.
How to Prepare Now
- Know if you live in an at-risk region. Hurricanes can wreak havoc on coastal cities and areas more than 100 miles inland.
- Obtain flood insurance.
- Set up a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather radio in your home.
- Locate storm shelters in your community.
- Learn the evacuation route(s) for your zone.
- Create a 72-hour kit with enough food, water and supplies for everyone in your family, including pets.
- Keep important documents in waterproof bags or containers that you can grab-and-go if necessary.
What to Do When a Hurricane Warning is Issued
- Listen to the TV, visit your city’s website or stay near your NOAA radio for the latest updates.
- Fill the gas tank of your car and stock your vehicle with 72-hour kits.
- Bring loose objects on your property indoors.
- Board up your home’s windows.
- Charge your cell phone and backup battery pack.
How to Survive a Hurricane
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- If you shelter in place, travel to a nearby storm shelter if possible, or hunker down in a small, windowless, interior room at the lowest level of your home.
- If flooding occurs, go to the highest level of the building with windows and doors so you can escape outside if necessary.
- Only run generators outside.
- Turn around – don’t drown! Never walk, swim or drive through flood waters.
- Only make phone calls if absolutely necessary. Texting is a more reliable way to communicate during emergencies when phone lines are often jammed.
How to Stay Safe After a Hurricane
- Only return home when the authorities say it’s safe to do so.
- Wear protective clothing during cleanup.
- Keep away from electrical equipment and downed power lines.
- Flip the circuit breakers at your home’s main electrical panel to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which may contain dangerous debris or be electrically charged by downed power lines.
- Document property damage by taking photos. Call your insurance company to begin the claims process.
- Contact a disaster restoration contractor to start the recovery process.