Hurricane Preparedness Steps
When hurricane season starts and storms begin to roll in, we all should prepare for the risks and then determine the best time to act on those preparations. National Hurricane Center has some comprehensive guidelines of what do you need to do and have to consider yourself a part of the Weather-Ready Nation.
You should refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for complete information about hurricane preparedness. We will cover some highlights that make the basis of the preparedness guidelines:
You should find out if you live in the evacuation area. Always know if your home can survive storm surge, flooding, and wind. Listen to the National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings; keep track of the approaching storm with the help of NWS forecast products.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local NWS office and government/emergency management office for information and directions.
Contacts – keep this list for reference:
• Emergency management offices
• County law enforcement
• County public safety fire/rescue
• State/county and city/town government
• Local hospitals
• Local utilities
• Local American Red Cross
• Local TV stations
• Local radio stations
• Your insurance agent
There are some tools online for use to determine your risks and vulnerability. FEMA’s Map Portal can help you check your hazards. FloodSmart.gov is a great place to determine how likely floods are in your area.
Plan and Take Action
Everyone should stand prepared when the weather strikes. Your family members might not all be in one place, so you have to have ways to reach each other. Will you know if your children and parents are safe? If you will have to be evacuated or confined to your home, what will you do if your utility services are shut off?
You should have a survival supply kit at your home and keep it updated. Consider different storage locations for different disasters. Encourage your community to do the same.
Determine and document plans based on the risks you might be subjected to.
• Be ready for whatever comes with a Family Emergency Plan
• Plan locations away from home known for all family members
• Make sure your pets will be taken care off during a disaster
• Have your boat ready and know safe navigation during storm
Health and Environment
Take care of the environment and health of your community during and after the hurricane:
• Read CDC’s health considerations before, during, and after a storm
• Follow FDA’s food and water safety guidelines during natural disasters
• Make sure you know the EPA’s recommendations for health and environmental safety in disaster preparedness
• FEMA evacuation guidelines should be followed to give yourself enough time to pack and notify friends and family if you have or want to evacuate. Follow all the instructions issued by local officials. Don’t stay is you are ordered to evacuate.
• If you are not ordered to evacuate, evaluate your options and your risks before making the decision. Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are staying and riding out the storm, be very careful, the danger might be over when the most intense winds die down. Tornadoes can follow the hurricane and cause serious damage.
The eye of the storm is a false calm before the renewed intensity hits you again. Do not go outside wondering – the winds will change direction and return.
Don’t rush home until you are allowed by local officials assessing the risks.
Recovering won’t happen in one day, so be mentally prepared to get back to normal slowly.
• FEMA guides
• National Weather Service Weather Safety
• NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation guidelines and lists
• NWS Storm-Ready Sites ; Communities
• Occupational Safety ; Health Administration (OSHA)
• Ready.gov for Kids
• American Red Cross