How to Prepare for a Hurricane -

How to Prepare for a Hurricane -

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A HURRICANE Table of Contents 1 Introduction 2  How to Prepare for a Hurricane 3 Now/Prepare 3  tay Informed: Emergency...

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Table of Contents 1


2  How to Prepare for a Hurricane 3



 tay Informed: Emergency S Notifications


Plan for Evacuation


Family Communication Plan


Emergency Supplies


Protect Your Property




Evacuation Notices


 reas Without an A Evacuation Notice


After/Be Safe


 tay Safe and Healthy S Post-disaster


 ive Steps for F Post-hurricane Clean-up


Additional Information

Introduction A hurricane can cause widespread devastation during and after it occurs. This guide from FEMA is designed to help you properly prepare for a hurricane and know how to protect yourself during and after one. Planning and preparing can make a big difference in safety and resiliency in the wake of a hurricane. The ability to quickly recover following a hurricane requires a focus on preparedness, advance planning, and knowing what to do in the event of a hurricane.

10 Myths/Facts 11 Hurricane Preparedness Checklist 11 Helplines

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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How to Prepare for a Hurricane Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. The heavy winds of hurricanes can cause damage or destroy homes, buildings, and roads, as well as cause power, water, and gas outages. These effects can injure or kill people, disrupt transportation, and pollute drinking water. Hurricanes cause deaths and injuries primarily from drowning, wind, and wind-borne debris. The impact from hurricanes can extend from the coast to several hundred miles inland. To find your risk, visit FEMA’s “Know Your Risk Map.” Be better prepared for this hurricane season, and learn more at


During/Survive After/Be Safe

Sign up for local alerts and

Follow guidance from local

Return to the area only after

warnings. Monitor local news and


authorities say it is safe to do so.

weather reports.

If advised to evacuate, grab your

Do not enter damaged buildings

Prepare to evacuate by testing your

“go bag” and leave immediately.

emergency communication plan(s),

For protection from high winds,

learning evacuation routes, having a place to stay, and packing a “go bag.”

stay away from windows and seek

until they are inspected by qualified professionals. Never walk or drive on flooded

shelter on the lowest level in an

roads or through floodwaters.

Stock emergency supplies.

interior room.

Look out for downed or unstable

Protect your property by installing

Move to higher ground if there

trees, poles, and power lines.

sewer backflow valves, anchoring

is flooding or a flood warning.

Do not remove heavy debris by

fuel tanks, reviewing insurance

Turn Around Don’t Drown.®

yourself. Wear gloves and sturdy,

policies, and cataloging belongings.

Never walk or drive on flooded

Collect and safeguard critical

roads or through water.

hands and feet.

financial, medical, educational, and

Call 9-1-1 if you are in life-

Do not drink tap water unless

legal documents and records.

threatening danger.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

thick-soled shoes to protect your

authorities say it is safe.

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Now/Prepare for a Hurricane

STAY INFORMED: EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS You can receive alerts and warnings directly from the National Weather Service for all hazards with a NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Some radio receivers are designed to work with external notification devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on NWR receivers, visit Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications that your community may offer. Download Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at

WATCHES AND WARNINGS The National Weather Service (NWS), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issues alerts when weather conditions make hurricanes more likely. Know the terms used to describe changing hurricane conditions and be prepared to take appropriate action.

Tropical Storm or Hurricane Advisory—The NWS issues an Advisory when it expects conditions to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous.


If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.

Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch—The NWS issues a Watch when a tropical storm or hurricane is possible within 48 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check


your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.

Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning—The NWS issues a Warning when it expects a tropical storm or hurricane within 36 hours. During a Warning, complete your storm preparations, and immediately leave the threatened area if directed to do so


by local officials.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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Now/Prepare for a Hurricane

PLAN FOR EVACUATION If the danger is significant, state or local government officials may issue an evacuation notice. You can do the following to be better prepared. Learn your community’s evacuation plan and identify several posted routes to leave the area. • Evacuation

routes: Check with your state’s Department of Transportation or Office of Emergency Management website to find routes near you.

• Emergency

shelter location:

To find a shelter near you, download the FEMA app at Once you determine your evacuation route and shelter location, write them down on your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist, which is located at the end of this guide.

Make a plan for your pet. To learn more, go to


for your entire household

including children, people with disabilities and access and functional needs, and pets. • Keep

your gas tank at least half-full at all times. Maintain basic emergency supplies (e.g., snacks, bottled water, first aid kit, flashlight, flares, jumper cables and other tools, a wool blanket, and a change of clothes) in your vehicle.

• Pick

an out-of-state contact

everyone can call to check-in and report their status. • Know

where you will meet up

if you are separated and where you will stay. • Pack

a “go bag” including items you need to take with you if you evacuate. A “go bag” should be easy to carry and kept in a place where you can grab it quickly.

CREATE YOUR FAMILY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION PLAN Your family may not be together when a hurricane occurs, so it is important to know how to contact one another and how to get back together. Keep important numbers written down in your wallet in case you cannot access the contact list in your phone. Landline and cellular phone systems are often overwhelmed following a disaster, so you may need to use text messages and social media. Designate an out-of-town contact who can help your household reconnect. Be sure to practice your plan with your family. Get more information by downloading Be Smart Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan or visit Write down any important phone numbers on your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist so you can access them easily.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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Now/Prepare for a Hurricane

EMERGENCY SUPPLIES You can build your supplies over time by adding a few items each week or month. Gather in advance the necessary supplies and items you will need to stay safe after the hurricane passes and as you start to recover. Stock food items that do not need refrigeration and will last. Regularly replace items like water, food, medications, and batteries that go bad over time. For a complete list of emergency supplies, visit and then check them off your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist once you add them to your emergency kit.

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION Make sure you have everything you’ll need to get in touch with your family either through cellular phones or email.

MEDICAL NEEDS Be equipped to tend to any current or unexpected medical conditions your family may have.

CRITICAL DOCUMENTS Place any important documents in a waterproof container to help keep them dry and easily accessible.

TOOLS AND SAFETY ITEMS Small items like matches, flashlights, a multi-purpose tool, and a whistle can make a huge difference for your family while weathering the storm.

FOOD/SUPPLIES Have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for your family. Remember to pack anything specific to your family’s needs.

HYGIENE AND SANITATION Practicing good hygiene can stop the spread of bacteria and infectious disease.

PROTECTIVE GEAR Protect yourself by packing warm clothes and blankets to prevent hypothermia. Don’t forget protective footwear and gloves too.

COMFORT & PRICELESS ITEMS You may be away from your home for an extended period and your property may be damaged. Grab any items that are irreplaceable or may provide comfort to your family, especially your children.

Ask yourself, “What would I need for myself and my family if a hurricane struck?” Add any of these specific items to your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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Now/Prepare for a Hurricane

TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY AGAINST WIND AND WATER DAMAGE Planning and preparing before a hurricane strikes can help you manage the impact of high winds and floodwaters. Take the steps outlined below to keep you and your family safe while protecting your home and property. If you are a renter, talk with your landlord or property manager about the steps you can take together to protect yourself, your family, your home, and your property. WIND High winds: The best way to reduce the risk of damage to a structure from hurricane winds is to reinforce or strengthen the building including doors, windows, walls, and roofs. The best way to protect yourself is to consider either constructing a safe room that meets FEMA criteria or a storm shelter that meets ICC 500 criteria. Wind-borne debris: Bring loose, lightweight objects (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans, and bicycles) inside; anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., gas grills and propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on buildings.

FLOOD There are steps that you or your property owner can take now to make your home or business more flood resistant. Some improvements are simple and inexpensive; others require more of an investment. As your budget allows, take these steps to protect your property from flood damage and manage your risks. •

 eep gutters and drains free K of debris. Install a water alarm and sump pumps with battery backup.

Install “check valves” in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into your drains.

 tockpile emergency protective S materials such as plywood, plastic sheeting, and sandbags.

 levate the heating system E (furnace), water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.

Waterproof the basement.

In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the building.

FLOOD INSURANCE Most property insurance policies do not cover flood losses, so you will need to purchase separate flood insurance if your property is at risk for flooding. Talk to your insurance agent about buying flood insurance. Flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters, and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program in participating communities. Keep in mind that a policy purchased today will take 30 days to go into effect, so act now! Learn how to financially protect yourself from flood damage by visiting Find your flood risk at

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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During/Survive a Hurricane

DECIDING TO STAY OR GO If authorities advise or order you to evacuate, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately. If you are not in a mandatory evacuation zone, you may still decide to leave the area, you may need to move to higher ground, or you may choose to stay in your home. If you decide to stay home, remember that even if the high winds and floodwaters do not reach your home, you may lose power and water, and you may not be able to leave your home for several days if the roads are impassable.


TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY TO EVACUATE! Grab your “go bag” and leave immediately. Follow posted evacuation routes and do not try to take shortcuts because they may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes. For localized information: •

Evacuation routes: Check with your state’s Department of Transportation or Office of Emergency Management website to find routes near you.

Emergency shelter location: To find a shelter near you, check the FEMA mobile app:

Don’t forget: Write down your evacuation route and shelter information on your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist.


If you are in an area that is flooding

Stay indoors and away from

Never use a generator, gasoline-

(e.g., on the coast, on a floodplain,

windows and glass doors. If you are

powered equipment and tools, grill,

near a river, or on an island

in a temporary structure, safely

camp stove, or charcoal burning

waterway), move to a location on

move to a sturdy building and go to

device inside or in any partially

higher ground before floodwaters

a windowless room on the lowest

enclosed area. Keep these devices

reach you.

level that is not likely to flood.

outside and at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

| 7

After/Be Safe

POST-DISASTER TIPS TO STAY SAFE If you’ve evacuated the area, wait for public officials to say it is safe before returning. Each year, a significant number of people are injured or killed while cleaning up after a hurricane. As you begin cleanup, keep these safety tips in mind:

STAY SAFE Do not wade in floodwaters, which can contain dangerous debris like broken glass, metal, dead animals, sewage, gasoline, oil, and downed power lines.

Do not enter a building until it has been inspected for damage to the electrical system, gas lines, septic systems, and water lines or wells. Wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, and masks to protect you from debris and airborne particles, e.g., mold and dust.

Do not use electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Protect your pet following a hurricane. To learn more, visit

STAY HEALTHY Throw out any food including canned items that were not maintained at a proper temperature or have been exposed to floodwaters. Do not eat food from a flooded garden. When in doubt, throw it out.

Avoid drinking tap water until you know it is safe. If uncertain, boil or purify it first.

Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage, bacteria, and chemicals.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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After/Be Safe

FIVE STEPS FOR POST-HURRICANE CLEAN-UP Use appropriate personal protective equipment to avoid injury from possible exposure to mold and bacteria including gloves, goggles, rubber boots, and N95 masks.

AIR OUT by opening all doors

MOVE OUT saturated porous

CLEAN OUT and disinfect any

and windows whenever you are

materials such as mattresses or

remaining debris and mud.

present. Leave as many windows

upholstered items, especially those

open when you are not present as

with visible fungal growth.

security concerns allow.

TEAR OUT flooring, paneling,

DRY OUT the building and any remaining contents.

drywall, insulation, and electrical outlets saturated by floodwater.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES The following resources and websites can help you further prepare for, respond to, and recover from a hurricane. FEMA Mobile App:


FEMA Against the Wind: Protecting Your

American Red Cross Hurricane Preparedness:

Home From Hurricane and Wind Damage: FEMA Hurricane: FEMA Community Hurricane Preparedness Training:

FloodSmart Campaign:

FEMA Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

a Safe Room in Your Home or Small Business:

(NOAA): 2009?id=1536

Para obtener información y recursos en español visite

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

| 9


is time-consuming and expensive.

FACT: Signing up for local alerts and warnings is free.

3 MYTH: In an emergency, only first responders need to know what to do.

FACT: Everyone needs to know

Many preparedness apps are

what to do before, during, and

also free.

after a hurricane to protect

FACT: Your home may already contain emergency kit items.

FACT: You can purchase items for an emergency kit and assemble it over time.

FACT: Having an adequate

themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

FACT: First responders may not reach you for hours or days after a hurricane strikes. Everyone needs to know what to do to stay safe.

emergency supply of food and a communication plan can be of benefit no matter the hazard.


I am prepared for any

insurance should cover everything if a hurricane affects me.

FACT: This is not always the case. Check your insurance policy and consult your insurance agent.

FACT: Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.

through a small amount of floodwater.

FACT: As little as 12 inches of water can float smaller SUVs and 18 inches of water can float larger vehicles such as full-size SUVs.

FACT: The depth of the water is not always obvious, and moving water has tremendous power. Turn Around Don’t Drown®

FACT: Even a small amount of water on a road may hide dangers such as undermined roads ready to collapse.

emergency, including a hurricane, if I have an

2 MYTH: My homeowners

5 MYTH: It’s okay if I drive

emergency kit packed.

FACT: Emergency preparedness requires more than a kit.

FACT: Having a family communication plan, signing up for alerts and warnings, and

6 MYTH: A person can safely wait to evacuate until confirmation that a hurricane is in their area.

FACT: Those who wait for actual confirmation of a hurricane may be trapped by high winds, flooding, or traffic.

knowing what to do and how to evacuate are also important.

FACT: Many emergencies require knowledge of what to do to protect yourself.

7 MYTH: If I tape my windows, it will protect them from strong hurricane force winds.

FACT: Taping windows can create larger and deadlier shards of glass.

FACT: Hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows are far more effective in protecting against breakage of windows.

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

| 10

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST The right time to prepare for a hurricane is now. This helpful checklist will get you started. Make sure to include your entire family in the preparation and discuss your emergency plan with them. Post this checklist in an easily accessible location so it’s always close by. Remember to keep in mind your family’s unique needs as you complete the checklist.



DURING A HURRICANE When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued, it’s important to stay informed.

Stock your emergency kit and “go bag” with:



Matches or lighter in waterproof container

Tune in to channels: ___________________ _________________________________________


Check for alerts on apps: FEMA App _________________________________________

Important contact information for  family, school, work, doctors, etc., including phone numbers and email addresses Cellular phone, extra battery, and  chargers for electrical equipment AM/FM radio/NOAA Weather  Radio (extra batteries) _____________________________________ _____________________________________

MEDICAL NEEDS Medications for at least one week  and copies of prescriptions Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses

Multi-purpose tool 

_____________________________________  _____________________________________ 

FOOD/SUPPLIES At least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food Infant formula and diapers Pet food, supplies, and extra water  _____________________________________  _____________________________________ 


Medical equipment/assistive  technology and backup batteries


First aid kit 

Toilet paper




Toothbrush and toothpaste 

CRITICAL DOCUMENTS Photo ID (e.g., driver’s license,  passport) Cash and credit cards Personal records (e.g., birth  certificates, marriage certificates)

Paper towels/moist towelettes

_____________________________________  _____________________________________

PROTECTIVE GEAR & CLOTHING Extra warm clothes  Sturdy shoes 

Medical records 

Blankets or sleeping bags 

Financial information (e.g., bank  account or credit card information)


Property records (e.g., insurance  policies, deed, or lease)



In case of evacuation, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately. Use evacuation route: _________________ _________________________________________ The closest shelter is: _________________ _________________________________________ Meet family at: _________________________ ________________________________________ Make sure to take these important numbers with you: Family member’s name: _________________________________________ Phone #: _______________________________ Email: _________________________________ Local contact’s name: _________________________________________ Phone #: _______________________________ Email: _________________________________ Out-of-state contact’s name: _________________________________________ Phone #: _______________________________ Email: __________________________________ Primary physician’s name: _________________________________________ Phone #: _______________________________ Email: __________________________________ Hospital’s phone #: _________________________________________ Insurance company’s phone #: _________________________________________

Waterproof, portable container for  important documents

Items like: books, puzzles, favorite  stuffed toy, photo albums, valuables



TTY: 1-800-462-7585



VRS: 1-800-621-3362

FEMA’s helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA

Red Cross’s helpline: 1-800-733-2727

For more resources about hurricane risk, visit

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