Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life- and propertythreatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.
Know the Difference
Hurricane Watch— Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.
Hurricane Warning— Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
What should I do?
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
- Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to
local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
- Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and
washed out bridges.
- Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at
What supplies do I need?
- Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical
information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera for photos of damage
What do I do after a hurricane?
- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the
hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them
immediately to the power company.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building
and its contents, for insurance purposes.
- Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Let Your Family Know You’re Safe
If your community has experienced a hurricane, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.