Hurricanes are unwelcome anywhere, but it’s crucial to prepare for the worst before a storm is threatening your region. Early preparedness is the best way to get peace of mind and avoid major headaches following a storm—not to mention keeping you, your family, and your property safe and secure during a hurricane.
The most important rule of hurricane preparedness is to heed and follow all warnings and official directives from local government officials. Review our printable hurricane preparedness checklist to know what else you and your family should do when a tropical system is headed to your region, during the storm itself, and in the aftermath of a hurricane.
What to do before a hurricane hits
- Plug into the community emergency alert systems that send out storm warnings and safety information for your area.
- Put together an evacuation plan for your family about where to go and who to contact in case of a natural disaster. Review evacuation plans with family members regularly.
- Build a disaster supply kit with enough non-perishable food, water, medications, flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, pet supplies, and cash to last at least a week.
- Create (or update) a home inventory in case of damage during catastrophic weather events.
- Update your insurance to make sure you can renovate or rebuild your home if you live in a high-risk area.
- Remove any dead or vulnerable trees from your property; bring in outside furniture or loose items that could easily be picked up by a storm.
- Buy plywood or aluminum panels to board up windows and doors to protect against high winds and flying debris.
- Fill up your car with a full tank of gas.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged in case of power outages.
- Park your vehicle on higher ground, preferably in a garage or parking shelter.
What to do during a hurricane
- Stay inside, away from any windows or hazards.
- Listen to the radio for emergency updates.
- If water intrudes, move to the highest level of the building.
What to do after a hurricane impacts your home or region
- Do not leave your location until authorities announce it is safe.
- Do not drive or walk through flooded areas.
- Do not drink or use tap water until you know it has not been contaminated.
- Immediately photograph any damage to your property.
- Wear protective equipment during cleanup.
- Restock disaster supplies kit.
Download printer-friendly hurricane checklist here.
For more information: An Architect’s Guide to Flood Insurance