Preparing For A Storm

Hurricane season is upon us, and we want you and your family to be prepared as possible. Below is a list of actions you can take to help ready you for stormy weather.

Step One: Educate yourself and your Family

  • Speak to a local emergency management agency/American Red Cross chapter to figure out what types of disasters are likely to affect your community. (Find your local Red Cross chapter here)
  • Find out if you are in a flood zone (Use this search engine by FEMA for quick reference)
  • Learn where emergency shelters are located, be sure to take into account animal-friendly shelters and wheelchair accessibility.
  • Create an emergency contact list. Identify an out-of-state relative or friend as a family contact in case family members are in separate locations at the time of disaster. Be sure work and school offices have this number on file. (Click here for printable emergency contact cards.)
  • Take a First Aid/CPR Class (link to the Red Cross Training site here)
  • Teach young children how and when to dial 911 and what to say.
  • Become knowledgeable of Disaster plans at work places, schools, day care centers, or other places where your family spends time.
  • Instruct all adults on how to shut off main utility line valves for water, gas, and electricity.
  • Install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors on each floor (especially near bedrooms). Test and replace batteries once a year.
  • Teach family members how to use fire extinguishers and show them where they are kept. Test extinguishers once a year.

Step Two: Create a family plan and practice it

  • Create a basic floor plan of home and clearly mark exits to be used for emergencies. 
  • Post all emergency numbers by every phone.
  • Hold fire and emergency evacuation drills periodically (every 6 months) with all members of the family.
  • Quiz family members periodically, (children every six months), on procedures and contact information.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation and how to care for your pets.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt to identify anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire.
  • Store supplies in a sturdy, pest-free container and place in an accessible location. Consider the following:
  1. Water for 3-5 days one gallon, per person, per day) Replace every 3 months
  2. Non-perishable foods for 3-5 days (Don't forget food for your pets!) Replace every 6 months.
  3. Batteries
  4. Manual can opener
  5. flashlights
  6. extra pair of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses and cleaning solution
  7. battery operated tv or radio
  8. any vital prescription medications that are used regularly
  9. first aid kit
  10. extra set of car keys
  11. blankets or sleeping bags
  12. important information for critical medical devices (i.e. serial number for pacemaker)
  13. Cash and an emergency credit/debit card
  14. Children's toy, game, books, or a puzzle
  15. Phone battery bank
  16. Spare clothes or outfit
  17. Any items for special needs (i.e. Wheelchair or crutches)


Step Three: Create an evacuation kit

  • Create an evacuation box to "grab and go" in a waterproof container. Consider the following:
  1. Cash
  2. Irreplaceable photos (place in plastic)
  3. Written inventory of valuable possessions (Update regularly)
  4. Copies of other important family or home documents
  5. Copies of prescriptions
  6. Copies of important legal documents-deeds, wills, birth certificates, immunization records, etc. Original documents should be kept in a safe deposit box.

Step Four: Reach out to your neighbor

  • Meet with your neighbors to plan how to work together in case of an emergency, exchange ideas about their emergency plan.
  • Know your neighbors' special needs or skills; Ask them if they need help.
  • Make plans for each other's children in case a parent is not able to get home.

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