How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Much of the East Coast is gripping for what is likely to be an historic and devastating hurricane. With Sandy expected to impact areas not used to such extreme conditions, tens of millions of people will need to act quickly to prepare. Here are some tips for how to get ready for Hurricane Sandy, and what to do during and after the storm.

Put an emergency supply kit together. A full list of recommended and suggested items are available through FEMA:

  • Non-perishable food; at least a three day supply.
  • Water; 1 gallon per person per day for at least three days is recommended.
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered radio to keep up with news and weather reports.
  • Flashlights.
  • Extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Medications.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Food and water for any pets or animals.
  • Credit cards, ATM cards, cash.
  • Copies of important documents. Keep them in a waterproof and portable container.

Create a family emergency plan. If your family is not all in the same place when the hurricane hits, you’ll need a way to get in contact with one another.

Protect your home:

  • Cover windows with ply wood or hurricane shutters.
  • Bring all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and decorations inside.
  • Turn off any utilities as instructed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Reinforce garage doors.
  • Retrofit your roof.
  • Fill bath tub and large containers with water.
  • Solid wood and hollow metal doors will probably withstand the hurricane. If your entry doors aren’t made of these materials, or you’re not quite sure if they are or not, you can secure your door by installing head and foot bolts. Click here for more tips on securing entryways.
  • Turn your refrigerator’s thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed if you aren’t required to turn off your utilities.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
  • If you’re evacuating your home, unplug any appliances.


Next Page: What to do during and after the storm.

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.

Disaster Preparation for Pets
Disaster Supplies Kit


Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

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.

Ellie Damann
.6 years ago


Rika S.
Rika S6 years ago

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

CYNTHIS O6 years ago

It should be Year Round. Emergencies are not planned.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Good to know. Thanks.

Juliet D.
judith sanders6 years ago

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.

Dakota Payne
Dakota Payne6 years ago

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

Dakota Payne
Dakota Payne6 years ago

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

Beth Enslow
Beth E6 years ago

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.