Prepare Yourself Before The Hurricane
What To Do Now
• Create a Family Disaster Plan.
• Decide where you plan to go if you are requested to evacuate. You may go to a hotel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to a Red Cross shelter.
• Put together your disaster supplies as recommended. Click here for a supply list.
• Purchase plywood and PLYLOX™ window clips so you have the supplies to protect windows, glass doors, and skylights in the event of a storm. (PLYLOX™ window clips are the ingenious, inexpensive, non-destructive way to protect your windows from high winds and airborne debris. Installed in seconds, PLYLOX™ window clips slide onto the edge of a 1/2″ plywood sheet which is then easily inserted into the exterior window casings of your home or business. No drilling holes. After protecting your home or business from high winds and flying debris, the plywood can be removed in seconds without tools. http://www.plylox.com/)
• Plan for pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. If you need to make arrangements for your pet, contact your vet, local SPCA or Humane Society.
• Trim trees to reduce potential damage from falling limbs. Trim them back from house and power lines.
• Clean rain gutters and keep them free of debris. You can create your own flood with clogged drains and gutters.
• Pick up things around your yard that you are no longer using, such as empty plant pots, etc.
• Collect insurance information and important papers. Collect your auto and homeowners or renters insurance policies. Don’t forget health insurance cards, and bring copies of your bank and investment account numbers, since you may not be able to access these accounts online and may need to call instead. Keep all this info in place so it’s easy to find and take with you if needed, preferably in a water proof container. Click here for a form to help organize some of this information.
• Take a written inventory of personal possessions. Most people couldn’t list all the items in their living room without looking. Make a written inventory now so you’ll know exactly what’s been lost later. A video or digital record also becomes extremely useful during the claims process.
• Put together a first aid kit.
• Prepare your car. Check gas, oil, and water. Also, check your car’s emergency gear, such as a flashlight, spare tire, and jumper cables.
• If you may need to evacuate and don’t have the transportation to do it on your own, register now with your local Emergency Management Office. If you are in Houston you can register at http://www.houstonoem.net/go/survey/1855/1097/
When the Storm Enters the Gulf and starts to head this way
• Stay tuned to the radio for weather updates. Hurricanes are unpredictable, so remain informed. Your radio and TV stations will provide frequent updates about the storm, as well as advice from local officials.
• Check your emergency supplies. Click here for a supply list.
• Put up shutters or plywood on all windows and openings using PLYLOX™ window clips to protect windows, glass doors, and skylights in the event of a storm. For more information on PLYLOX™ window clips, visit http://www.plylox.com/.
• Clear your yard of loose objects, bicycles, lawn furniture, trash cans, etc.
• Move patio furniture, hanging plants and gas grills inside.
• Secure your boat. Remember that most drawbridges and swing bridges will be closed to all boat traffic after the evacuation order is issued.
• Leave swimming pools filled. Super-chlorinate the water and cover pump and filtration systems and intakes.
• Plan your route if you may have to evacuate. Check the Internet or listen to the radio to find out about road closures and the storm’s predicted path.
• Get some cash to take care of expenses, as stores may be unable to accept checks or credit cards after the storm.
• Inform your extended family. If possible, let a family member in another city or state know about your plans for the storm, including destination and route if applicable.
• Contact your employer. Notify your employer’s emergency contacts of your plans now and after the storm.
• Pay bills before the storm. Consider setting up an automatic payment plan to ensure that your payments are always made on time.
• Close storm shutters if you have them.
If You Can Stay Home
• Get stocked up with your disaster supplies Click here for supplies list.
• Make sure your car is filled with gas.
• Fill up your freezer with containers of water so they will freeze before the storm hits. You can use zip locks or plastic containers. If you lose power, your freezer will stay frozen longer if it is full.
• As the storm gets close, turn your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.
If You Evacuate
• If local authorities tell you to evacuate, do so, especially if you live in low-lying areas which could be easily flooded. Leave early before roads become jammed or flooded and you can’t get out.
• If your home is vulnerable to flooding, move valuables and furniture to a higher level.
• Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box to protect appliances from power surges (this reduces the risk of live dangling wires after a storm).
• Pack what you will need. See our suggested list.
• Turn off water and electricity at the main valve, breakers or fuses.
• Shelter your car. Keep your vehicle in the garage or on higher ground. Avoid parking it under a tree or on a low-lying street where it could be damaged by water.
• Arrange for a ride with nearby neighbors or relatives if you do not have a car. You can also call a local senior citizens group, your church, or your community emergency management office for help in arranging a ride. Make these arrangements early.
• If you are going to a public shelter, the most important items to take are your medication, a blanket, the portable radio, an extra change of clothing and perhaps a small supply of packaged foods.
• Keep your gas tank as full as possible during hurricane season. Fuel may be difficult to get.
• Learn the recommended evacuation route from your home to safer, higher ground. Local broadcasts will tell you where to go during an evacuation.
• Stay in touch. Take your cell phone charger, a portable radio, and extra batteries. If you have access to a national weather radio (NWR), bring it along, too.