Before and After the Storm
Tips from the American Red Cross:
Before the storm.
- Make sure your windows are protected and your home is secured.
- Check your disaster supplies kit. Make sure you have water, non-perishable food, medications and don't forget that non-electric can opener.
- Clean containers for drinking water. Line the bathtub with plastic sheeting or a clean shower curtain, or caulk the drain with silicone caulking — it holds water for weeks and cleans up easily when dry. Plan on three gallons per person, per day for all uses (does not include water for flushing the toilet).
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
- Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tank.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
- Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
- Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
During the storm. Howling winds, driving rain and the threat of tornadoes make riding out a hurricane a scary ordeal. Follow these tips if you are staying safe in your home during a hurricane:
- Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Find a safe area in your home (an interior room, a closet or bathroom on the lower level).
- If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
- If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.
- Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer.
- Do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. Also, do not go outside to see "what the wind feels like." It is too easy to be hit by flying debris.
- Beware of lightning. Stay away from electrical equipment. Don't use the phone or take a bath/shower during the storm.
Considerations if you are staying at an evacuation shelter:
- Those with special medical needs (oxygen, etc.) should go to special needs shelters only. Special needs shelters do not provide hands-on medical care, only medical monitoring. Bring a caregiver with you if needed.
- Only service animals are permitted in most public shelters.
- Eat before you arrive. Meals may not be available during the first 24 hours. Bring snacks.
- Bring your identification, valuable papers and medications in their original containers.
- Bring baby supplies.
- Bring blankets/sleeping bags, pillows. Those are either not provided or limited in supply.
- Bring flashlights and a battery operated radio or TV with extra batteries for all.
- Stay inside and follow directions that are given for your comfort and safety.
- You will not be allowed outside until the official "all clear."
After the storm. Typically, more deaths occur after a hurricane than during. These deaths come from people being too anxious to get outside and survey the damage where they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees, etc. Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the hurricane:
- Remain indoors until an official "all clear" is given.
- Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in/near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
- USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
- Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains, overturned gas tanks, etc.
- Watch for weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs or porches which could collapse unexpectedly.
- After power is restored, check refrigerated food for spoilage. (Spoiled food is the cause of much sickness two days to a week after the storm.)
- When reinstalling a CB, TV or satellite antenna, check in all directions to be sure no power lines are nearby. The same goes for climbing trees to clear debris.
- Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.