Even living here in Florida I still don’t have my plan set if a hurricane hits us. With us living in a mobile home I do know we would have to evacuate to a safer location and I do know the steps we need to take. But just many of you I have to get my plan set ahead of time. Hurricanes have the power to cause widespread damage and horrible devastation, and can affect both coastal and inland areas.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began on May 15 and will end on November 30. Ready.gov/hurricanes has tips about and what to do to prepare. This is a great site to find all the information you need to get prepared before, during and after a major storm.
In a recent survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents said that they do not have a household emergency plan with instructions for household members about where to go and what to do in the event of a disaster. And I will admit I am one of those families as of today. But that’s all about to chance, because we are getting out plan altogether this week.
A Few Steps to take Before, During and After a Hurricane:
Before the Hurricane
Listen for Wireless Emergency Alerts that are automatic texts sent to you in an emergency. Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, warnings can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service.
- Build an emergency kit.
- Make a plan on how to keep in touch with family.
- Find out if you land is a flood-prone area to see if you will be affected when storm hits.
- Find your community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground.
- Secure your property.
- Cover all windows around your home or board them up.
- Clean all clogged rain gutters.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Purchase a generator for power outages.
- If you have a safe room get it ready.
During the Hurricane
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
Evacuate under the following conditions:
If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground. If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations. If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
- Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- Avoid elevators.
After the Hurricane
- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the storm has ended.
- If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross.
- If you had to evacuated, return home when officials say it is safe.
- For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
- Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
- Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- 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.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Find this and more detailed information at ready.gov/hurricanes.
More helpful resources: Download the How to Prepare for a Hurricane Guide.