Be Prepared for the Hurricane
The hurricane survival experts at the Florida Division of Emergency Management offer you advice for before, during and after the storm.
Countdown Checklist: Before the Storm
Properly preparing for a hurricane requires time and effort, but if a storm affects your family and your home, you’ll be glad you prepared. The following tasks are listed in chronological order from earliest to last. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and get a jump on the steps counting down from 13 to 10 before the next hurricane season begins in your area.
13. Take an inventory of your personal possessions by video or picture. Store online or in a safe place.
12. Review your insurance policies and deductibles. Contact your insurance company with any questions. (See article below.)
11. Assemble all essential documents, including insurance policies, and store in a safe place. (See instructions below.)
10. Prepare and review a family evacuation route and distribute contact information. (See instructions below.)
9. Prepare a survival kit for your family sufficient for three days. (See instructions below.)
8. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace units or batteries as necessary.
7. Home maintenance: Clean gutters, fix loose shutters, remove tree limbs near house, and so on.
6. Consider boarding windows and doors and placing sandbags in areas where water could pool and flood into your home.
5. Secure any outdoor property that could be lost in a flood or that could become a missile in gusty winds.
4. Move indoor items away from your windows and doors.
3. Park your cars with full tanks in a garage, if possible.
2. Turn off your propane tanks.
1. Unplug your appliances.
Plan Your Evacuation Route
For information about your safest evacuation route, call or visit the website of your local emergency management office. Use major roads if possible, which are typically better maintained and more likely to be the first roads cleared of hazards downed electrical lines, debris and fallen trees.
After you’ve planned your route, highlight it on a local road map and review it with every driver in your family. Store one map in every vehicle.
Even if you have all contact information stored on a smartphone, keep printed paper copies, stored in plastic zipper bags, in case of prolonged power outage or lack of cellphone service.
1. Designate a local contact who is known to every family member (such as a neighbor, friend or relative) who may be able to:
- • Assist with evacuation.
- • Check in with your family and call authorities if family is unresponsive.
- • Keep copies of your important documents.
2. Designate a contact outside of your area who is known to every family member (such as an out-of-town relative) who may be able to:
- Provide accommodations for your family.
- Be easily reached by all members of your family.
- Contact your designated local contact.
3. Gather contact information for appropriate local authorities, including utility providers and emergency management offices
4. Gather contact information for your essential service providers:
- Insurance companies
Essential Documents & Keys
Keep copies of the following essential documents in a waterproof box or container. Consider providing copies to your out-of-town contact.
- Insurance policies
- Medical records
- Home and vehicle ownership documents (at a minimum, have account numbers)
- Tax, financial, banking and loan documents (at a minimum, have account numbers)
- Personal identity information such as birth certificates, passports and social security cards
- Important business documents (if normally stored at home)
- Also keep extra sets of home, car and office keys in the box.
Your Family Hurricane Survival Kit
Your survival kit should contain at least a three-day supply of food, water and other provisions for every member of your family.
Food & Liquids
The best foods for your survival kit are non-perishable and need no preparation or refrigeration. Suggestions include:
- Water: a gallon per day for drinking (and washing) for each family member, including pets. Store water in plastic containers. Glass bottles are dangerous, and empty milk bottles carry bacteria.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and veggies
- Canned juice, milk and soup
- Energy-boosting snacks like protein bars, meat jerky, dried fruits, nuts and peanut butter
- Instant coffee and tea, plus packaged creamers and sugar, if desired
- Packaged crackers, cookies and other snacks
- Any special dietary foods required by young children, elderly or disabled family members
- Food and snacks for pets
Food Preparation & Sanitation
- Can opener
- Eating utensils
- Cookware, dinnerware and storage containers
- Camping stove and fuel, if desired
- Cleaning supplies
- Paper towels and napkins
- Generator with full gas cans (Be sure to review safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.)
- First-aid kit
- Flashlights and battery-operated lantern (Avoid candles.)
- Prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medicines for stomach, pain, general discomfort
- Battery-operated radio
- Battery-operated fan
- Toys and books to entertain children
- Extra clothing
- Towels and washcloths
- Items to feed and secure pets
- Plastic sheeting or tarps for use in case of damage to your home
During the Storm
- Stay in a safe space away from windows and doors.
- Do not go outside, even if it appears the storm has subsided, until authorities give the all clear.
- Make sure at least one person (preferably two) is awake at all times to monitor conditions and radio news.
After the Storm
- Avoid using roadways until local authorities say they’re safe.
- Stay away from downed electrical lines and report them to authorities.
- If you have a generator and must use it, you must operate it a minimum of 10 feet away from your house. Never use a generator indoors or in your garage, even if the garage door is open.
- Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have been wet, because they are not safe.
- If you have storm damage, call your insurance company. Take video or pictures to document the damage and gather as much information as possible about damaged items.
- Cover any openings in your home caused by storm damage with tarps or plastic sheeting