Hurricane Prep Checklist Summer 2023
Hurricane season is here, and it's important to be prepared for any storms that might come your way. Hurricanes can be dangerous with their strong winds, heavy rain, and rising water levels. We've got a checklist to help you get ready for this hurricane season.
1. Understand the risks
Even if you don't live near the coast, hurricanes can still affect you. Learn about the potential dangers in your area, like storm surges, high winds, rip currents, and flooding. You can stay updated by using the FEMA app (in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store) on your smartphone. It gives you updates, helps you find local shelters, and lets you plan for emergencies by letting you create customized checklists.
2. Develop an emergency plan
Create a plan with your family. Make a list of important phone numbers, figure out multiple routes to the nearest shelter, and make arrangements for your pets. Share this plan with everyone in your family so they know what to do if a hurricane comes. Something else to think about is making sure every member has a copy of the plan if you somehow get separated. Here is a great resource for creating an emergency plan.
3. Put together an emergency kit
Fill it with enough food, water (for drinking, washing, and your pets), and your family’s medications to last for two weeks. A first aid kit, personal items, and important documents like IDs, passports, and insurance records should be included as well. It’s also a good idea to have flood control items on hand like sandbags or barriers to protect your home. Check out Ready.gov to prepare your emergency kit.
4. Review and update important documents
Check that your identification and insurance documents are up to date. Make copies of your insurance papers and have a way to document any damage that might happen during the hurricane. Taking pictures with your phone can be helpful. You should also have a notebook to write down any damages in case you need to make a claim later.
5. Know the difference between a hurricane "watch" and a hurricane "warning"
When you hear about a hurricane watch, it means that strong winds will be coming to your area in about 48 hours.
A hurricane warning means that hurricane-force winds will happen about 36 hours before the storm arrives. This is when you need to get ready for possible evacuation.
6. Ready your vehicle
If you have a car, make sure it's ready for the hurricane season. Be sure the state inspection and registration are up to date (if that applies to your state). Fill up the gas tank and try to park it in a covered area. If you don't have a car, talk to your family or friends about how they can help you evacuate. You can also check if your city has evacuation buses.
7. Prepare your family and pets
Share your emergency plan with your family so everyone knows what to do. Keep updated by watching the news on TV, listening to the radio, or using smartphone apps like the FEMA app. If you have pets, make sure they're safe too. Update their tags with your contact information and bring their vaccination papers. Pack enough food, water, and medicine for them to last at least two weeks.
8. Check on neighbors and friends
It's important to help each other during a hurricane. Check on your neighbors and friends to see if they need any help with evacuating or securing their homes.
9. Be prepared to evacuate or stay at home
If authorities tell you to evacuate:
Follow their instructions and grab your emergency kit. Take only essential things like your phone, charger, medicine, ID, license, and some cash. In your home, be sure to unplug appliances and turn off gas, water, and electricity if you can. Have multiple evacuation routes ready, just in case. Follow the evacuation routes and avoid driving through water.
If you're staying home:
Keep your emergency kit nearby and stay updated with the news. Stay inside, even if it looks calm outside. Keep away from windows and be ready to leave if authorities say it's necessary.
10. Have these websites handy and included in your emergency plan:
- Your insurance agent’s website
- FEMA Individual Assistance Application
- Ready.gov Emergency Alerts
- CDC website for getting ready for a disaster
- Disaster Authorities
- Search your location and see what disasters have taken place before
- The Disaster Recovery Center Locator helps you find local shelters in the event of an emergency
- DisasterAssistance.gov is a great resource for disaster preparation
- Ready.gov has a great resource for getting your pets ready for disasters
- Ready.gov also has a great location-planning resource
Remember, being prepared is the key to staying safe during a hurricane. Don't forget to stay calm and follow the instructions of the authorities. Stay safe!
Sources: FEMA, CDC, Ready.gov, DisasterAssistance.gov