From federal agencies to local emergency response teams, lots of people work to improve hurricane safety response when a storm is possible. What can you do to prepare for hurricane safety well in advance? Make a hurricane evacuation plan, put together a hurricane evacuation kit and more.
How can I plan ahead?
When it comes to hurricanes, being prepared in advance can make your situation much better than trying to react in what can be a chaotic and stressful time. There are a number of ways you can prepare that can speed and better your response to a coming hurricane:
What should be in my hurricane evacuation kit?
Your kit should contain the following, in addition to any other items that fit your family or personal must-haves.
- Drinkable water – 1 gallon per person, per day,
- Sealed, prepared meals – at least a 10-day supply for each person,
- First-aid kit,
- Prescription medications in sealed containers,
- Waterproof, battery-powered or hand-crank-powered flashlights and radios,
- Whistle or other sound-signaling device,
- Multi-tool with a knife,
- Identification and medical records for each person,
- Any necessary medical records,
- Waterproof bags or containers,
- Essentials for your pets:
- Water, food and medications — at least a 10-day supply, and
- Veterinary records and proof of vaccinations.
What if we get split up?
Decide in advance on two different meeting points in case your family or group gets split up. Your first meeting place may be rendered inaccessible by the storm, so it’s important to have a backup meeting location.
What else might I need?
Fuel and cash are important. If a storm is predicted to head your way, keep your gas tank and your wallet full. If power goes out, gas pumps, ATMs and credit card machines won’t work.
Should we stop anywhere if we evacuate?
Once you’re packed and on the road, do not stop unless traffic necessitates it. Stopping for food or drinks could significantly slow your evacuation.
Should we evacuate or stay?
Officials in your area or state may issue orders to evacuate or stay, depending on weather and traffic conditions.
Evacuation orders: There are two types of evacuation orders: voluntary and mandatory. Both employ an evacuation formula that helps officials determine what areas and populations should leave first. This is usually those most susceptible to flooding and severe damage.
- Voluntary – Heed this type of evacuation order if you:
- Live in a flood-prone area, mobile home or structurally unstable building, and
- Have any young children, elderly or special-needs members of your family or group.
- Mandatory – If this type of evacuation order is issued, you must, by law, leave. Use only those roads identified as evacuation routes, even if they are heavily trafficked. Other routes may be closed and you could be forced to turn around, losing valuable time.
Order to stay: It’s possible officials may determine it’s safer to remain in your home if leaving could lead to gridlock and danger for people to be trapped in their vehicles.
Did you know these hurricane facts?
- The official Atlantic hurricane season is from June through November.
- September is the most common month for hurricanes.
- Katrina was the costliest U.S. hurricane to date, causing $125 billion in damage.
Can I get protection?
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or flooding, talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance and know what’s covered.