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Prepare For A Storm:
- Before a Hurricane Threatens
- When a Hurricane Watch is Issued
- When a Hurricane Warning is Issued
- If You Stay at Home
- Evacuation Information
- If You Must Evacuate
- Steps to Take After a Hurricane
Terms to Know
- Hurricane – Intense low pressure with winds rotating about the center in a counterclockwise direction at speeds of 74 mph or more.
- Hurricane Warning – An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected in a specific coastal area within 24 hours. If the hurricane’s path is unusual or erratic, the warning may be issued only a few hours before the beginning of hurricane conditions.
- Hurricane Watch – An announcement for specific areas that hurricane conditions pose a threat to a coastal area. When a hurricane watch is issued, all precautions should be taken immediately.
- Tropical Depression – Counterclockwise rotation of air at speeds of 38 mph or less. A clearly defined low pressure area is emerging.
- Tropical Disturbance – No strong wind. Area of showers and thunderstorms. Common throughout the tropics.
- Tropical Storm – A low pressure system with wind speeds of 39-73 mph. The storm receives a name.
- Tropical Storm Warning – A warning that tropical storm conditions, including possible sustained winds of 39-73 mph, are expected in a specific coastal region within 24 hours.
- Tropical Storm Watch – An announcement for specific areas that tropical storm winds pose a possible threat to coastal areas.
Hurricane Survival Checklist
While relief agencies like the Red Cross will help you after a hurricane, it may take several days to clear the roads so trucks can reach your neighborhood. While the following list of items may not cover everything your family will need before, during, and after a hurricane, it serves as a good starting point.
- One week minimum supply of non-perishable food (foods that do not need to be reheated, refrigerated, and need little or no water in preparation)
- Two week supply of prescription drugs
- Special dietary foods
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Flashlight and batteries
- Bottled water – One gallon per person per day, for at least one week
- Water containers
- Masking tape
- Extra flashlight bulbs and batteries
- Full tank of gas and an extra set of keys
- Important papers – Valid ID
- Ice chests/cooler
- Personal items
- Infant necessities, including 2 week supply of disposable diapers
- Emergency cooking facilities
- Can openers (non-electric)
- Extra clothing
- Safety matches in waterproof containers
- Non-electric clock
- Canned food and milk
- Plastic drop cloth
- Portable radio – Battery-powered with extra batteries
- Fuel can/oil
- Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
- Household chlorine bleach
- Games and books
- Boards, hammers, and nails to board up windows
Prepare For A Storm:
Before a Hurricane Threatens
- Stay tuned to local radio stations for the latest alerts, warnings, and advisories
- Fully develop your own personal emergency plan
- Take Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes so you can help out your family if necessary
- Plan to evacuate if your home is in an evacuation zone or is a mobile home
- Know your evacuation zone and route, and the elevation of your home above sea level
- Plan to obtain supplies necessary to protect your property and for your survival; since windows are not usually blown out but are knocked out by flying debris, windows should be shuttered, not taped
- Arrange for the safekeeping of your pets (contact the Humane Society for guidance). They are not allowed in shelters
- Make a complete inventory of your personal property
- Review your insurance policies – Homeowners insurance will not cover flood damage
- Know what documents you will need to establish home ownership and make insurance claims
- Stock non-perishable food items and water for your family to last one week; once a watch is issued, these items disappear quickly from store shelves
- Trim or remove trees that can damage your home; trees that fall and do not damage property are not covered by insurance.
Submit a tree trimming request.
When a Hurricane Watch is Issued
- Monitor storm reports on local radio stations and stay alert
- Check your emergency supplies
- Fill up your vehicles with gas
- Get a supply of cash (ATM machines will likely be out of service during and after a hurricane)
- Prepare to leave – what to bring/not to bring to the shelter
- Anchor small boats or transport them to a safe area
- Remain calm
If You Stay at Home
- Stay indoors
- Stay away from windows and glass doors
- Keep television/radio tuned to local broadcast stations
- Remain calm
- Fill water containers (sterilize bathtubs) with a week’s supply of water
- If the center or “eye” of the storm passes directly over, there will be a lull in the wind lasting from a few minutes to over a half hour (or more). Stay in a safe place. Make emergency repairs during the lull if necessary, but remember the wind will return suddenly from the opposite direction, frequently with even greater force.
When a Hurricane Warning is Issued
- Remain tuned in to local television/radio broadcast stations
- Mobile home: Check tie-downs and leave immediately
- Prepare for high winds by anchoring securely or bringing indoors anything that might blow away or be torn loose; garbage cans, garden tools, signs, lawn furniture, awnings and toys; loose objects can be deadly missiles in hurricane winds
- Board up or shutter large windows; tape exposed glass to reduce shattering. When you board up, use good lumber that is securely fastened; makeshift boarding may do more damage than none at all. Have strong bracing for outside windows
- Boats on trailers: Fill with water, lash securely to the trailer and use tie-downs to anchor the trailer to the ground or your house
- Get away from low lying beaches or other locations which may be swept by high seas or storm waves. If passage to high ground is over a road likely to be underwater, leave early; don’t run the risk of being marooned.
- Add extra chlorine to your swimming pool to prevent contamination, and lower the water level to allow for increased rainfall
As information becomes available from the National Hurricane Center, local and state officials will be analyzing the forecasts to determine when to order an evacuation. An evacuation order may come from local officials and/or the Governor.
Stay tuned to local television/radio broadcast stations for evacuation instructions. Travel with care. Evacuation orders are mandatory.
Nobody saves a house by staying in it.
If You Must Evacuate
- Shut off all gas valves and main water valves, as well as the main electrical switch before leaving your home
- Take important documents with you, especially insurance policies and documents establishing home ownership
- Be alert for tornadoes, which are often spawned by hurricanes
- Carry along survival supplies, ideally in large plastic garbage bags
- Bring medicine and/or any other specialty items
- Do not bring pets, alcoholic beverages, or weapons to Red Cross shelters
- Take warm, protective clothing
Steps to Take After the Hurricane
- Don’t touch loose or dangling wires
- Seek necessary medical care
- If you have been evacuated, delay returning until authorized by local authorities
- Report broken sewer or water mains to the water department
- Stay out of disaster areas unless you are qualified to render valuable emergency assistance
- Walk and drive cautiously. Along the coast, soil may be washed from beneath the pavement, which may collapse under the weight of vehicles
- Guard against spoiled food
- Do not use water until it is declared safe
- Take extra precautions to prevent fires
- Notify insurance representatives of damage; document damaged property
- Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting
- Call your local Red Cross if you have immediate or special needs such as food, shelter, clothing, medicines, or counseling
Hurricane Related Links
There are many websites available to assist you before and after a hurricane. Here are some noteworthy websites:
National Hurricane Center
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Monroe County Special Needs Registry
Public Power Ready