What to do as a storm approaches
— Download an application to your smartphone that can notify people where you are, and if you need help or are safe. The Red Cross has a Hurricane App available for download.
— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8-inch plywood.
— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind.
— Clear gutters of debris.
— Reinforce the garage door.
— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off.
— Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.
— Fill a bathtub with water.
— Get a full tank of gas in at least one car.
— Go over the evacuation plan with the family, and learn alternate routes to safety.
— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter.
— Put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding.
— Evacuate if ordered and stick to marked evacuation routes if possible.
— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.
— Have a current inventory of household property.
— Leave a note to say where you are going.
— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.
— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas, and water for the residence.
List of supplies
— A three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day.
— Three days of food, with suggested items including canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.
— A can opener.
— A battery-powered radio, preferably a weather radio.
— Extra batteries.
— A first aid kit.
— A small fire extinguisher.
— Whistles for each person.
— A seven-day supply of medications.
— A multi purpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.
— Cell phones and chargers.
— Contact information for the family.
— A sleeping bag for each person.
— Extra cash.
— A silver foil emergency blanket.
— A map of the area.
— Baby supplies.
— Pet supplies.
— Wet wipes.
— A camera (to document storm damage).
— Insect repellent.
— Rain gear.
— Tools and supplies for securing your home.
— Plastic sheeting.
— Duct tape.
— Dust masks.
— An extra set of house keys.
— An extra set of car keys.
— An emergency ladder to evacuate the second floor.
— Household bleach.
— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.
— Activities for children.
— Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.
What to do after the storm arrives
— Continue listening to a NOAA
Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
— Never use a generator in your home or garage. Generators produce unsafe high-levels of carbon monoxide.
— Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
— Use the Facebook Safety Check
to let family and friends know you’re safe.
— If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
— Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
— Never drive through flooded roads.
— Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
— Stay out of any building that has water around it.
— Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
— Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
— Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
— Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
— Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
— Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
— Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Sources: American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Hurricane Center, CNN