If you live in a hurricane prone area, make sure you know where all of the evacuation routes are. Always listen to the radio and television for the latest information and instructions for your area.
A HURRICANE WATCH issued for your part of the coast indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. This WATCH should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated. Especially, those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat and leaving a barrier island.
A HURRICANE WARNING issued for your part of the coast indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours. Once this WARNING has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.
Remain calm and follow these steps when a hurricane approaches:
1. BEFORE A HURRICANE:
Have a disaster plan.
Have a pet plan. Before a storm threatens, contact your veterinarian or local humane society for information on preparing your pets for an emergency.
Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Board up windows. Consider hurricane shutters. Bring in outdoor objects that could blow away.
Review insurance policies.
Make sure you know which county or parish you live in.
Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
Prepare a disaster supplies kit for your home, car and pets. Have enough food and water for at least 3 days. Include a first aid kit, canned food and a can opener, bottled water, battery-operated radio, flashlight, protective clothing and written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water.
Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
Have a NOAA weather radio handy with plenty of batteries, so you can listen to storm advisories.
Have some cash handy. Following a hurricane, banks and ATMs may be temporarily closed.
Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
2. DURING A HURRICANE:
Stay away from low-lying and flood prone areas.
Always stay indoors during a hurricane, because strong winds will blow things around.
Leave mobile homes and go to a shelter.
If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.
If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
3. AFTER A HURRICANE:
Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
Stay indoors until it is safe to come out.
Check for injured or trapped people, without putting yourself in danger.
Watch out for flooding which can happen after a hurricane. Do not attempt to drive, swim or walk in flooding water.
Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
Don’t drink tap water until officials say its safe to do so.
Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
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