When the storm first threatens:
- Move quickly without panicking. Start monitoring the news.
- DON'T be misled by landfall predictions; strong winds could arrive
hours before official landfall.
- DON'T heed or spread rumors.
- Review emergency plans with your family. Practice where to go
in the house as the hurricane intensifies.
- Get supplies. Follow instructions in this guide for food and water.
- If you plan to leave, start packing.
- Limit traveling to necessary trips.
- Refill any special medications.
- Fill up your car's fuel tank. Make sure you have a spare tire;
buy aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.
- DON'T fill gasoline cans; they are a fire hazard.
- Check battery, water and oil.
- Check flashlight and radio batteries and have extra on hand.
- Charge rechargeable cellular phones, drills, flashlights, lanterns,
- Get cash.
- If time allows, get key important documents - passports, wills,
contracts, insurance papers, car titles, deeds, leases and tax information
into safe deposit box. If not, put them in a home safe or other
safe, dry place.
When warning is issued:
- Secure your boat; have aircraft flown out or secured.
- Get shutters, siding or plywood in place on windows. If you haven't
sunk sockets, nail wood in with masonry nails.
- DON'T tape windows; tape can create daggers of glass and bake
- Move vehicles out of flood-prone areas and into garages if possible.
If not, park cars away from trees and close to homes or buildings.
- Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants into house or garage.
- Clear yard of loose objects. If you want to do any last-minute
pruning, you must take the clippings inside; trash pickup will have
been suspended and you'll be creating a nice pile of missiles.
- Remove swings, and tarps from swing sets. Tie down anything you
can't bring in. Check again for loose rain gutters, or moldings.
- Prepare your pool.
- Prepare patio screening. It is built to sustain 75 mph winds but
as it fills with wind it can separate from the frame. Officials
recommend you remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass
through. Pull out the tubing that holds screening in frame to remove
- Remove roof antenna; unplug antenna wire from set first.
- Remove roof turbines and cap the holes with screw-on turbine caps.
Unsecured turbines can fly off and create large hole for rain to
- Secure anything inside your home that can be thrown around. Tape
or tie cabinets. Remove items from counter and tabletops. Close
- DON'T turn off your natural gas at the main meter. Only emergency
or utility people should do that.
When the storm is hours
It is now too late to do most of what needs to be done. There is
still time to --
- Put on your medic-alert tag.
- Fill your tub and bottles with water.
- Prepare food and water according to rules in this guide.
- Shut your water at the meter to prevent contamination.
- Secure and brace external doors, especially double doors.
- Move as many valuables as possible off the floor to limit flooding
- Move furniture away from windows or cover with plastic.
- Continue to listen to radio and television for instructions.
- Stay off the roads. It's too late to get supplies, and you'll
competing with people trying to flee unsafe homes.
- Stay inside. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly, sometimes hours
before landfall and often at night.
During the storm:
- Stay inside!
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- DON'T use telephone or electrical appliances.
- If storm becomes intense, retreat to designated interior hurricane
- If you fear your house will come down around you, get into a bathtub
and place a mattress over you.
After the storm:
- DON'T leave your home or shelter until emergency officials tell
you it's safe. You may only be in the eye, with half the storm -
sometimes the stronger half - still to come.
- If you're not at home, don't return until you get the all-clear.
Roads may be blocked by debris. Wait to learn from broadcast reports
or shelter officials which roads are passable.
- Driving with be treacherous. Traffic lights will be out and streets
filled with debris and downed power lines.
- If your neighborhood floods during the storm, listen to the radio
for instructions. Rising water may require you to leave even after
the storm has passed.
- Watch and listen for reports of storm-spawned tornadoes.
- DON'T call police, emergency or utility officials unless you have
a life-threatening emergency.
- If you must call loved ones to let them know you're all right,
be brief to free lines for others.
- DON'T touch power lines. Watch for downed lines. Assume all lines
are live unless told otherwise.
- Watch your step. The area will be covered with broken glass and
other debris. Parts of your home, your porch, tree limbs and bridges
may be weakened and could collapse.
- Watch for insects, snakes and other animals - even alligators
- driven out by high water.
- Puddles may conceal dangerous debris or contain sewage or chemicals.
The day after:
- DON'T sightsee. Roads will be clogged.
- You may have to show proof of residency before allowed back into
- Use cell phones sparingly; they may be the only working phones,
and only a limited number of cells will be operating. Battery use
is limited. Also, many cellular phone towers may be down and cell
phones may not work.