Disaster Preparedness – Hurricanes




Before a hurricane:

  • Did we say to make sure you have a disaster plan?
  • Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
  • Familiarize yourself with emergency evacuation routes and shelters.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas of your home. The safest areas may not actually be your home, but within your community.

When a hurricane is on the way:

  • Adjust refrigerator temperatures to the coldest settings to reduce potential for food
    spoiling if the power is temporarily lost.
  • Take the advice of the local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
  • If an evacuation is necessary, unplug all appliances, TVs and computers before leaving your home.
  • Remove fuses from the air conditioning system to prevent damage. Turn off water to
    prevent flooding from broken pipes. Turn off gas to prevent leaks from occurring.
  • If you have a shed, make sure its doors are closed tightly: otherwise, they could end up blowing off the hinges and becoming dangerous projectiles.
  • Bring in flags, awnings, and house ornaments such as wreaths, wind chimes, or sculptures. Bring plants in pots into the garage. These could also become dangerous projectiles.
  • Don’t leave cars parked under trees. Check pool covers to ensure that they are secure.

During a hurricane:

  • Monitor emergency radio, news radio, or television news for relevant information. Obey evacuation orders.
  • Be cautious with storm surge flooding. These high waves can be more deadly than hurricane winds. Leave the coast and stay away from low-lying areas.
  • If you shelter in place, stay away from all windows and exterior doors and seek safety in a bathroom or basement. Bathtubs can provide some shelter if you cover yourself with plywood or other materials.
  • Do not go outside, even if the storm appears to have subsided. The calm or the “eye” of the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when strong winds resume.
  • Evacuate to a shelter or a neighbor’s home if your home is damaged, or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Do not use candles during the storm – they could cause a fire. Stick with battery operated flashlights.
  • If power is lost, turn off all major appliances to reduce the chances of a damaging power surge. Do not handle electrical equipment and do not use the telephone except in an emergency.

After a hurricane:

  • Watch for lingering storms or flooding. Be alert for tornadoes.
  • If the power is out, use candles and flashlights to help you get around; if you were able to evacuate before the hurricane, check with officials to see if it is safe to return back home.
  • Avoid downed, damaged, or loose power lines and report them immediately to local authorities, as well as to the local transmission and distribution services provider in your area.
  • When power returns to your home, turn appliances on gradually to reduce damage to sensitive equipment.
  • Even if you have ventilation, never use a generator indoors. This includes garages, basements and crawlspaces. Exhaust fumes contain high levels of carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if inhaled.
  • Even when left outside, keep generators away from doors and windows and at least 10 feet away from your home. Also, allow your generator to cool off before refilling it with gas. Splashing gas on hot generator components can start a fire.
  • Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have gotten wet, and do not turn on damaged appliances because of the risk of electrical shock or fire.
  • Never use charcoal indoors because burning charcoal produces high levels of carbon
    monoxide, which can reach lethal levels in enclosed spaces.