How to Prepare in the Hours Leading Up to a Hurricane
Hurricane season runs from mid-May for the Eastern Pacific and June 1 for the Atlantic through the end of November. If you live within 100 miles of either US coastline, your home and family could be at risk. Follow these hurricane preparedness tips to help you stay safe.
- Learn if you live in a hurricane-prone area.
- Purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather radio.
- Become familiar with your area’s evacuation zones, routes, and shelters.
- Make plans for evacuating or sheltering in place.
- Create a 72-hour kit.
- Store important documents in a safe place and create password-protected digital backups.
- Keep trees trimmed back and remove any that are dangerously close to your home.
- Consider installing hurricane shutters.
- Consider installing a sump pump in the basement.
- Review your insurance coverage.
Prepare 36 Hours Ahead of a Hurricane
- Tune in to the latest weather updates.
- Prepare to evacuate, including filling your car with gas and restocking your 72-hour kit.
- Discuss communication methods with your family. Remember, texts often work better than phone calls when lines are overloaded during an emergency.
- Consider purchasing sandbags or water pumps. Your flood insurance may provide coverage for such loss avoidance measures, so keep your receipts.
Prepare 18 to 36 Hours Ahead of a Hurricane
- Bring patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other loose, lightweight objects inside. Anchor items that are unsafe to bring inside, such as propane tanks.
- Be prepared to cover your windows with storm shutters, if present, or sheets of plywood.
Prepare 6 to 18 Hours Ahead of a Hurricane
- Turn on the local news or check your city/county website every 30 minutes to stay informed of the latest weather information.
- Charge your cell phone and limit your use of it in case you lose power.
Prepare 6 Hours Ahead of a Hurricane
- If the authorities don’t recommend evacuating, plan to shelter in place.
- Cover your windows and stay away from them to avoid injury from broken glass.
- Set your fridge and freezer to the coldest setting. If you lose power, food will stay good longer.
- Continue checking the news or city/county website.
Stay Safe During a Hurricane
- If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- If you’re sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room or storm shelter, if possible. A small, interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of the building is the next best thing.
- If your building starts flooding, head to the highest level. Don’t climb into an enclosed attic.
- Keep your NOAA radio turned on for current emergency information and instructions.
- Only run generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Don’t walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters.
- Avoid crossing bridges over fast-moving water.