What To Do Before, During And After A Hurricane

August 30, 2017

Hurricanes produce strong winds, heavy rainfall, flooding, rip currents and even tornadoes. When the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning, those who live in affected coastal areas and inland regions must be prepared. Ready.gov provides a detailed guide for what to do prior to the warning, during a hurricane and after the storm has passed. 

Before A Hurricane
Know where to go for evacuations. Local emergency management agencies provide information about shelters. Have a plan for staying at home if evacuations are not issued. Adequate amounts of food, bottled water and other survival supplies must be stocked. If there are text alerts offered by local weather or emergency service agencies, sign up for them. Families should develop a communication plan. In the event of an evacuation order, have a supply kit ready that includes the following items:

  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Solar cellphone charger
  • Flashlight
  • Copies of important information
  • Medications
  • Cash

Homeowners must also protect their houses. Trim any damaged tree limbs or branches that are close to the house before hurricane season arrives each year. If any rain gutters or downspouts are loose, tighten them. Be sure that gutters are clear. Reinforce windows, doors and roofing. If possible, buy a generator for power outages. Be sure to read and follow all safety rules that accompany the unit. Check storm shutters to ensure that they are sturdy. People who do not have storm shutters should buy plywood pieces to put over each window in the event of a hurricane warning. 

During A Hurricane
Watches are issued when a storm is likely within the next two days. If a watch is issued, make sure that all possible steps in the previous section have been completed. Pack food and any necessary supplies for pets that may need to be evacuated as well. Do not leave pets at home when evacuating. Put away outdoor items that could become hazards. Lawn furniture, birdbaths, tools and anything in the yard should be stored safely indoors. 

Hurricane warnings are issued when an event is expected within the next two days. If evacuations are ordered, follow the rules. Contact family members to let them know where the designated shelter is located. When a storm is only hours away and an evacuation was not ordered, stay at home. Set the refrigerator's temperature regulator to the coldest option. Avoid opening it as much as possible. Turn on the television to stay current with the storm's progress. Local news and weather websites also provide updated information. Also, keep a portable battery-operated radio nearby. Charge all electronics. Close the storm shutters, and go to a safe place away from doors or windows.

After A Hurricane
After an evacuation, do not return home until the area is deemed safe by local officials. Keep current with updates and instructions from them. Stay away from debris and bowed or fallen power lines. Do not walk or drive through moving flood waters. It only takes a foot of fast-moving water to wash away an entire vehicle. Also, damaged power sources may be hiding under the water to create a deadly risk. Photograph and document any damage to the home. Use tarps, boards or other temporary fixes to prevent seeping water or worsening damages. Do not make permanent repairs until after filing an insurance claim. Finally, you'll feel more secure if you know you are covered. Discuss your insurance coverage with an agent.

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