Get Moving When a Storm Threatens
When a storm is forecast to impact your area, take action immediately to be ready. Ideally, longer-term preparedness actions such as having disaster supplies and an evacuation plan will have already been done before hurricane season, when the stores are stocked and time is on your side. When a storm threatens, there’s a lot more to do.
Protect your home
While longer-term home improvement needs to be done well ahead of time, when a storm threatens there are short-term actions to help protect your property. Board up windows, secure loose outdoor items, and secure all exterior doors. Move your vehicle to a safe location if you’re not using it to evacuate. If you are evacuating, unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances (freezers and refrigerators also need to be unplugged if there is a risk of flooding). If you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
Determine sheltering options & consider your pets
Check with local officials to find out what shelter spaces are available. If you have pets, find a place where they can stay — most public shelters only allow service animals. In general, have multiple sheltering options, including distant ones such as a friend’s home outside of the impact area, or a motel. Depending on the circumstances, your home may need to be your shelter — make sure it is prepared and that you know the safest places inside.
Ready your go-bag, meds & supplies, charge phone, fill up/charge vehicle
Have a go bag ready to take things with you if you need to leave in a hurry. In addition to basic survival needs, don’t forget other supplies such as chargers and hygiene products. Plan to have enough for at least three days, and don’t forget about your pets. While preparing these basic needs, don’t forget to keep your phone charged, and make sure to fill up/charge your vehicle as well.
Your go-bag should also contain important personal and property documents, including your written communication plan.
Help your neighbors, especially the elderly & other vulnerable people
Many people rely on their neighbors before and after a disaster, and there are many ways you can help them. Help them prepare for a storm, and help them evacuate if needed. Share the latest forecast information with your community so that they know what to expect.
Follow evacuation orders if given
Always follow evacuation orders from local authorities — don’t wait for a hurricane to intensify before deciding to follow the order. You want to leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather. If time allows, unplug electrical equipment, leave a note detailing your whereabouts, and check to see if any neighbors need a ride.
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