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How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Evacuate. If local authorities direct you to evacuate, follow their instructions. If you live in a mobile home, a temporary structure, or in a high-rise building, you should also evacuate. If you simply don’t feel safe in your home, it’s also best to evacuate.

If you absolutely must stay in your home or you’re unable to evacuate, follow these precautions during the storm:

  • Stay inside and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Stay put in an interior room, a hallway or a closet on the lowest level of your house.
  • Lie on the floor under a sturdy object, such as a table.
  • Don’t use candles or kerosene lamps. They’re a fire hazard.
  • Keep up with news and weather reports.
  • Do not assume the storm has passed if there’s a lull — it could be the eye of the storm.

What to do after the storm has passed:

  • Check for injuries and administer first aid. FEMA has more detailed tips on how to care for your safety here.
  • If you have evacuated, do not return to your home until it is deemed so.
  • Beware of any loose or dangling power lines.
  • Avoid floodwaters.
  • Walk/drive cautiously. Only walk or drive outside if absolutely necessary.
  • Only use the telephone if there is a serious emergency.
  • Walk cautiously around the outside of your house before entering. Do not enter if you smell gas, if your home was damaged by fire or if you can see floodwaters around the area.
  • Do not turn on utilities or use water until you are told it is safe to do so.

 

For information on what to look for inside your home, click here.

Related:
Disaster Preparation for Pets
Disaster Supplies Kit

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

34 comments

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3:10PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Thanks

4:56AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

For a hurricane, earthquake, locusts, zombies...

"and if you evacuate - take your pets with you! leaving them behind is a death sentence."

Well said, Renya. Those who abandon their pets in a tragedy should be buried alive.

3:42AM PST on Nov 9, 2011

thanks

3:44AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Thank you, it may be really useful in the future, I'm not so well-educated about those kinds of emergencies...

7:36PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

It should be Year Round. Emergencies are not planned.

1:02AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Good to know. Thanks.

11:14AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

The one thing you must keep running is your sump pump. Roofs can be replaced, food in your fridge can be replaced and you can eat emergency rations for a few days, but if your basement or crawlspace floods, you may lose your entire home. At the very least you will probably have to buy a new furnace and deal with mold.
I'm able to use a small gas generator, but it takes a lot of tending to and comes with its own set of safety issues. Getting ready to move to a backup battery system - the new solar ones look promising.

9:04AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

thank you for this list...it's useful for any emergency situation.

9:04AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

thank you for this list...it's useful for any emergency situation.

8:33AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Safer than being under a heavy table is lying next to it. If the ceiling beams fall, they will likely crush the table but leave a gap next to it. Same goes for avoiding standing/sitting in a doorway. Put yourself next to a heavy object and your survival chances are much greater. This is based on a recent report examining real-life disasters.

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