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When it comes to hurricanes and storms, it is critical to be fully prepared to protect your family, home and business. Read below to find out how to be ready before and during a storm.
A month before
Preparing in advance will help you and your family prioritize once the storm hits. Keep a Storm Preparedness Sheet and make sure everyone in the family is familiarized with it. Make sure your emergency kit is stocked full of necessary items including non-perishable food, water, and important documents. Be sure to make digital copies of any critical information as paper can easily be lost in a storm. If you're worried about losing power, purchase a generator. Securing back up power a month in advance can help ease some of your worries and will ensure you're not scrambling at the last minute.
A week before
Sit down together and fill out a family emergency plan, placing it somewhere safe and easily accessible. Decide how you plan to get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what to do in the case of an emergency. Everyone should fill out an emergency wallet card, complete with the names and numbers of your emergency contacts. If you have pets, create a plan for them too. Consider that if you need to evacuate you may not be able to take them into a public shelter. Make plans to stay at a pet-friendly hotel or ask a friend or family member to take care of them if possible.
36 hours before
It will be important to stay informed as conditions may change rapidly. Sign up for local alerts from your county or city, and for power outage alerts so you can find out when your power will be back. Prepare for evacuation by filling your car with gas, stocking up on emergency supplies, and packing a small bag for each family member filled with clothes and necessities. Communicate with friends and family and come up with a plan to check in during and after the storm. Keep in mind that it may be a good idea to keep in touch using text messages or social media as phone lines may be down.
18 hours before
You should take steps to protect your property to prevent your home or business from being damaged. Seal windows and doors, remove any loose objects from your yard and check to make sure storm shutters are working properly. If you don't have storm shutters, board your windows with plywood to ensure windows are secure and will not shatter. Do not board windows with tape as this can cause larger pieces to shatter, potentially endangering you or others in the house. Continue to stay informed by tuning into your local television or radio station. Check-in for instructions and updates every 30 minutes.
During a hurricane
If authorities indicate that evacuation is necessary, evacuate immediately and do not attempt to wait it out. In the case of heavy winds, seek shelter in the lowest parts of your home that aren't at risk for flooding. If your home is flooding, head to the upper portion of your home or find higher ground. Avoid attics as you could be at risk of being trapped if water rises high enough. Stay informed and keep checking in for further information. Head outside only once local authorities have given an all-clear and said that it is safe. In the event of a power outage, contact your utility provider. In the event of an extended power outage, call your electricity company for assistance with your account.
The Reliant Storm Center is a good resource to check during weather events for information on finding shelters, recovery after storms and other important regional information. For weather updates, traffic and evacuation routes, and more information regarding preparing for a storm, click here.