BEFORE THE STORM
Develop a Hurricane Plan
STEP 1 Hold a family meeting
Discuss the hazards of hurricanes. Encourage children to talk about their fears and explain some of the things you’ll be doing to keep everyone safe. Start a written list of things you’ll need to take care of before hurricane season and encourage everyone in the family to contribute their ideas.
STEP 2 Discuss whether you’ll need to evacuate
Determine whether you live in an evacuation zone and, if so, where you will go if an evacuation order is given. Going to a family or friend’s house or hotel outside the evacuation area is your best choice. If you choose to go out of town, do so well in advance of the storm. Since shelters provide for only basic needs, this should be your choice of last resort.
STEP 3 Ensure your assets are protected
Inventory your home possessions and videotape, record or photograph items of value. Review your insurance policies before hurricane season starts to ensure you have adequate coverage. Once a hurricane watch has been issued, insurers will not issue new or additional coverage.
STEP 4 Assess your home for vulnerable areas
Do a walk-through of your home and property to evaluate your roof, windows, garage door, landscaping, etc. and determine what actions you will take.
STEP 5 Make a plan to protect your vehicles
Decide where you will store or park your vehicle, boat or RV. Check your vehicle insurance policy and keep it in the same safe place as your homeowner’s policy.
STEP 6 Secure your home
Decide what actions you will need to take to protect your home and your property (shutters, generator, tree-trimming), and to keep as comfortable as possible during recovery.
STEP 7 Determine whether anyone in your home has special medical needs, or is vulnerable in an emergency
Discuss whether anyone in your home has special needs in an emergency because of a medical condition, or because they are elderly or disabled. Make arrangements in advance to accommodate those needs.
STEP 8 Make a plan for your pets
Determine how you will address your pet’s needs and make a plan in case you have to evacuate. Be sure to plan for large outdoor animals as well, such as horses, pigs and cows.
STEP 9 Gather your supplies
Determine your family’s food, water and medical needs and assemble your hurricane kit according to those needs (see checklist on page 3 for essential non-perishable items to include). As the storm approaches, you will need to buy ice to have on hand in the event of a power outage after the storm.
STEP 10 Notify others of your plan
Let family or friends know what your hurricane plan is so they can check on you in the aftermath of the storm. Establish an out-of-town contact.