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Are you ready for a Hurricane?

Information courtesy of:
American Red Cross
Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Reprinted by Permission of the American Red Cross (1997)

Here’s what you can do to prepare for a Hurricane.

Know what hurricane WATCH and WARNING mean:

Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the Watch, usually within 36 hours.
Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the Warning, usually within 24 hours.

Prepare a personal evacuation plan:

Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places - a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately!

Assemble a disaster supplies kit:

Include the following items in your kit:

First aid kit and essential medications
Canned food and can opener
At least three gallons of water per person
Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags
Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
Written instructions for how to turn off gas and water if authorities advise you to do so (remember, you’l need a professional to turn them back on).

Prepare for high winds:

Install hurricane shutters or pre-cut 3/4” marine plywood for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

Know what to do when a Hurricane WATCH is issued:

Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
Prepare to bring indoors lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
Prepare to cover ALL windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use pre-cut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking; so taping windows is not recommended.
Fill your car’s gas tank.
Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.

Identify what to do when a Hurricane WARNING is issued:

Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
Complete preparation activities.
If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
Be aware, the calm ‘eye’ is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds that blow from the opposite direction.
Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during and after a hurricane passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

Know what to do after a Hurricane is over:

Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
Inspect your home for damage.
Use flashlights in the dark; avoid using candles.

Plan and get ready:

Hurricanes in the United States are most threatening along coastlines. But such fierce storms also have been known to build up enough momentum to carry destructive winds inland for hundreds of miles. Heavy rains, flooding, and tornadoes add to the damage hurricanes can inflict upon home and community.

Prepare for a hurricane by completing each item on the checklist below. Then meet to discuss and finalize your Family Disaster Plan.

Put together a disaster supplies kit.
Location of Disaster Supplies Kit:________________________

Call your local emergency management or planning and zoning office to find out if you live in an area that could flood during a hurricane or heavy rains.
Flood area: ___Yes ___No

Prepare an evacuation plan in case you must leave. Clear your plan with the relatives or friends you plan to stay with - or plan to go to a Red Cross shelter. Add to your Disaster Supplies Kit a map marked with two alternative routes to your destination.
Evacuation plan completed:_________________(date)

Write instructions on how to turn off gas and water if advised to do so by local authorities.
Instructions written:______________________(date)

Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a storm. Keep this list in your Disaster Supplies Kit.
List completed:___________________________(date)

Buy any other items needed to board up windows and protect your home well ahead of time. Pre-cut plywood to fit windows so that you can quickly cover windows.
Items purchased to protect home:_________________(date)

And remember...when a hurricane, earthquake, fire, flood, or other emergency happens in your community, you can count on your local American Red Cross chapter to be there to help you and your family. That’s been the role of the Red Cross for more than 100 years.

For more information, ask for the following information from your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, or National Weather Service office.

Against the Wind: Protecting Your Home From Hurricane Wind Damage (ARC 5023)
Hurricanes...the Greatest Storms on Earth (ARC 5030)

NOAA PA 94053
Rev. July 1994


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