National Hurricane Preparedness Week begins the first week of May. This week reminds us of the importance of preparing for hurricane season. Being ready can make a huge difference in how you are able to respond to and recover from a hurricane.
Here are 5 steps you can take this week:
1. Have a communication plan.
It’s important to have a plan and share it with your family. Remember, the internet may not be accessible during or after a storm, so it is not always possible to access the information or people you need.
- Talk to your family about where to meet if you’re separated. Include an out-of-town location in case there is an evacuation.
- Write down a list of emergency contacts on paper, and make sure to include utilities and other critical services. Keep this information in a waterproof container.
- Practice your plan with your family/household.
- Talk to your neighbors about what you’re doing to prepare. A conversation about the risks your area faces or ways to strengthen your home before a hurricane can spread awareness and save lives. It also helps to have a network of people who can check on one another and their pets. Not everyone has relatives close by. Sometimes a quick visit to make sure your neighbors are okay can make a big difference.
3. Build a kit.
Have you ever been to a grocery store the day before a hurricane passes through? Shelves are empty and all the milk, bread and eggs are usually gone. Make sure you have what you need to survive well in advance of a hurricane.
Items in your kit should include:
- Flashlights (and extra batteries).
- Several days supply of food and water for all people and pets in your household.
- First aid kit.
- Hand crank or battery powered radio (with more extra batteries, if needed).
4. Strengthen your home.
You can improve your home’s ability to withstand hurricane conditions.
- Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house. Keep shrubbery trimmed.
- Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks and building material inside or under shelter.
- Cover up windows and doors. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the outside window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass and keep debris out of your home.
5. Get your car ready.
Do not ignore instructions from authorities to evacuate before a storm. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. Staying home to protect your property is not worth risking your health and safety. One way to make sure you are ready to evacuate before a storm is to prepare your car.
- Fill your gas tank.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car.
- If authorities recommend you shelter in place, if possible, move your car or trucks into your garage or under cover.
For more tips on how to prepare, visit Ready.gov.