Contact the local emergency management office or other disaster
preparedness organization, and ask for the community hurricane
preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest
evacuation route and nearby shelters.
* Have disaster supplies on hand in the event of a storm, or if you
have to evacuate:
Flashlight and extra batteries
Portable, battery operated radio and extra batteries
First aid kit and first aid manual
Food (non-perishable) and water (one gallon of water per person per day)
Non-electric can opener
Baby supplies (diapers, non-perishable milk, baby food)
If you are ordered to evacuate, you should also take:
Personal items, such as toilet paper, toothbrush, towel, tampons, soap
Books, small games and other small entertainment items
Important papers and valuables in a waterproof container
Names and addresses of relatives, friends and other important contacts
Clothing and bedding
Cash and credit cards
* Make arrangements for pets.
Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space
reasons. Contact your local humane society for information on local
* Make plans for your boat.
Decide what to do with your boat if a storm hits. Choices include
taking it out of the path of danger, securing it on a trailer and
leaving it parked in a safe area, securing it in a marina or mooring it
in a "safe" harbor. If you decide to leave the Keys with your boat,
make sure to leave early because after the advent of storm force winds,
trailers will no longer be allowed on the highway.
* Protect valuable documents and property, including:
Social security cards
Bank account and credit card numbers
Photos/video of your home and valuable property
Military service papers
Insurance policies, including personal, homeowners and disaster
Computer back up of important electronic data
* Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a
hurricane. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas,
electricity, and water.
* Teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department
and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
* Protect your windows.
Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to
put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood--marine plywood is
best--cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which
window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws. Do this long before
* Trim back dead or weak branches from trees. Trim coconuts from palms
so they don't become deadly missiles during a storm.
* Check into disaster insurance.
If you do not already have flood and windstorm insurance, you should
consider getting it. Remember: Windstorm insurance policies are not
sold when a storm threatens, so think far enough ahead. You can find
out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your local
insurance agent or emergency management office. There is normally a
30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowners
polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a
* Develop an emergency communication plan.
In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster
(a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children
are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an
out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After
a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone
in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact
* Take pictures of your house and property.
Take photos and/or video of your house, it's contents and the
surrounding property. This will make it easier to prove loss to your
insurance company following landfall.
Click here for
information about storm classifications
A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane
conditions within 36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when
hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or
dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
During a Hurricane Watch
* Listen to local radio or television stations for hurricane progress
reports and emergency orders.
* Check emergency supplies.
* If you have not already done so, fuel your car.
* If you have not already done so, stock up on water, non-perishable
food, water and ice.
* Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden
tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
* Secure buildings by closing shutters and/or boarding up windows.
Remove outside antennas.
* Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when
absolutely necessary and close quickly.
* Fill bathtubs, washing machines, sinks and other containers with
* Review evacuation plan.
* Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or
chain to secure boat to trailer. Use tie downs to anchor trailer to the
ground or house.
During a Hurricane Warning
* Listen to local radio and television stations constantly for official
* If you are in a mobile home, check tie downs, then evacuate
immediately to a safe location.
* Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the
highest level of your home, or take them with you if you evacuate.
* Avoid elevators.
If you are at home:
* Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
* Keep your emergency supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy.
Avoid using open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a
source of light.
* If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge"
when electricity is restored.
If officials indicate evacuation is necessary:
* Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity
and the main water valve.
* Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
* If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate
furniture to protect it from flooding or better yet, move it to a
* Gather pre-assembled emergency supplies, warm protective clothing,
blankets and sleeping bags. Review directions to the nearest shelter.
* Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for
If you evacuated,
return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so. * If you
evacuated, and your house has been vacant for a period of time, enter
* Stay tuned to local radio and/or television for information.
Emergency officials will announce when you may return to your home, or
when it is safe to venture outside
* Help injured or trapped persons if you can do so without injury to
yourself. Give first aid where appropriate.
* Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate
danger of further injury. Call for help if possible, otherwise wait and
help will come to you.
* Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately if
possible to the power company, police, or fire department.
* Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by
* Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
* Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
* Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and
* Use telephone only for emergency calls.
* Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents and
for insurance claims.
information intended for informational purposes only!
For Emergency situations and/or decisions, please refer to your local
Emergency Management Office.