In order to safely survive a hurricane you need to know what to do – and what not to do – long before the winds pick up. Don’t wait to figure out how you will respond to a hurricane warning. Review our tips on how to safely survive a hurricane now and make them a part of your emergency preparedness plan.
Stay Calm. Be Ready.
When the threat of a weather system as large and powerful as a hurricane is imminent, people panic. Gas station lines can stretch for miles. Water and other non-perishables disappear from store shelves. Survival instincts kick in. Common sense and courtesy disappear. Don’t be caught unprepared.
Make sure you always have a full tank of gas in your car and that your emergency kit is fully stocked with food and water. If you need a refresher on what you should have on hand, read our article on home emergency kit preparation. If you have a backup generator, make sure you have enough fuel ahead of time and store any gas containers safely in your garage or storage shed.
Hurricanes can change paths and speed, so it’s important to stay up-to-date by listening to the radio or watching local TV stations for news and updates.
Secure Your Home
Whether you choose to stay and ride out the storm or evacuate, you need to secure your home before the storm arrives. Wind and water are the primary threats of a hurricane, so make sure your home is prepared:
- Board all your windows and glass doors with storm shutters. If you do not have storm shutters, use marine grade plywood if you do not have storm shutters.
- Normal everyday objects into dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Clean up debris around your yard and house. Move outdoor furniture in as well as any other loose objects around the home. If something needs to remain outside, anchor it securely to the ground.
- Clean your eaves and storm drains so rainwater can travel away from your home to minimize the risk of flooding.
- If you use gas or propane in your home, shut these lines off at the main valve until after the storm. Set your refrigerator and freezer to the lowest possible temperature to help your food keep longer in case power goes out.
Get Out of the Way
As part of your emergency preparedness plan, you should have a pre-planned evacuation route as well as an alternative. While many homeowners do not want to ‘abandon’ their home during a storm, it’s sometimes the safest bet. If you do evacuate, do so as soon as possible – ahead of any evacuation notice, so you can avoid traffic and other emergency travel risks.
Stay Inside & Stay Put
Find a safe place for you and your family and pets inside your home. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors. The safest place to be is in a small internal room as they are the strongest structurally.
Wait until the storm completely passes before leaving your home or shelter. Do not use the calm during the ‘eye of the storm’ as an opportunity to assess the storm’s damage so far.
While the initial danger may have passed with the storm, there are still risks and threats long after the storm. We’ll discuss what you need to know to stay safe after the storm has passed in our next article. Until then, visit Ready.gov to learn more and participate in National Preparedness Month.