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Hurricane Preparedness - Deep Dive

Risk Mitigation Podcast

Hurricane Prep

Listen to the conversation here.

  1. ASSESS YOUR RISK (your 1st Step):

Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Impacts from wind and water can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur regardless of the storm’s strength.


  • If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone and/or a flood zone

  • What types of hazards could affect where you live:

    • Strong Winds

    • Storm Surges & Rip Currents

    • Tornadoes

    • Flooding and Excessive Rainfall

    • Power outages

  • Your ability to get needed supplies afterward

  • Your evacuation route

  1. WRITE YOUR PLAN OF ACTION (before the season begins):

If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep:

  • The odds are that you will be under duress, and could miss important needs

  • It is highly likely you’ll have to compete with panic buying

Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan before there’s a storm and review it with your family.

  • Share this plan with long-distance family or friends so they are aware of what you’re planning to do as well

  • Find out which reporting authorities issue evacuation orders for your area

  • Determine locations where you will ride out the storm

  • Start gathering your supplies now

Preparation can mean the difference between being a hurricane victim or a hurricane survivor.


Whether you’re evacuating or sheltering-in-place, you’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the aftermath.

  • Have enough non-perishable food, water, and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days (store a longer than 3-day supply of water). Electricity and water could be out for at least that long.

  • You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights.

  • You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones.

  • Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them on the refrigerator or near every phone in your house. Program them into your cell phone too.

  • Call the hospital, public health department, or the police about special needs. If you or a loved one is older or disabled and won’t be able to leave quickly, get advice on what to do.

  • Locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home. If shelter locations in your area have not been identified, learn how to find them in the event of a storm.

  • Pet owners: Pre-identify shelters, pet-friendly hotels, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation.

    • Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.

    • Make sure outside pets and farm animals are included in your plan and will be in a safe place.

  • Gather emergency supplies: During and after a hurricane, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and healthy. Remember:

  • A hurricane could cut off your power and water supply. You also may not be able to drive because of damage to your car.

  • Roads may be flooded or blocked. It’s best to be prepared, stock up on everything you might need ahead of time.

  • Be sure to prepare the following:

    • An emergency food and water supply

    • An emergency medicine supply

    • Emergency power sources

    • Emergency tools

    • Safety and personal items

    • Specialty Items (prescription medicines/baby needs/entertainment/kid needs/pet needs)

    • Important documents, including medical documents, wills, passports, and personal identification

    • A fire extinguisher. Make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it!

  • Listen for National Weather Service alerts on TV or radio or check for them online. There are two kinds of alerts:

    • A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.

    • A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.

  • Fill your car’s gas tank

  • Move cars and trucks into your garage or under cover

  • Always keep an emergency kit in your car

  • Verify Insurance(s) - Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough insurance to repair or even replace your home and/or belongings.

    • Remember, home and renters’ insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so you’ll need a separate policy for it. Flood insurance is available through your company, agent, or the National Flood Insurance Program at Act now, as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

  • Strengthen Your Home and Property - Whether you’re evacuating or planning to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications to withstand wind impacts. Many retrofits are not as costly or time consuming as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.

    • Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and cause damage. 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 keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.

    • Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home, switch your power off.

    • Fill clean water containers with drinking water. You’ll want to do this in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.

    • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery to prevent CO poisoning

    • If you’re a renter, work with your landlord now to prepare your home for a storm

    • Be ready to evacuate or stay at home

    • Always listen to authorities regarding whether you should evacuate or stay at home


You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Your destination could be a friend or relative who lives in a well-built home outside flood prone areas. Remember, your safest place may be to remain home. Be sure to account for your pets in your plan.

If You Need to Evacuate:

  • Egress Bag: 3 days of supplies that you can carry with you. Include backup batteries and chargers for your devices (cell phone, CPAP, etc.)

  • Grab your emergency supply kit and only take what you really need with you (cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification like a passport or license, and cash).

  • Unplug your appliances. If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.

  • Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend even if there’s traffic. Other routes might be blocked or flooded.

    • Note: Never drive through flooded areas—cars and other vehicles can be swept away or may stall in just 6 inches of moving water.

If You Are Sheltering in Place:

  • Stay-at-Home Prep: Plan for 2 weeks of supplies. Stores and pharmacies might be closed.

  • Have a 1-month supply of medication in a child-proof container

  • Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access

  • Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane

  • Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don’t go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over. Sometimes, weather gets calm in the middle of a storm but then quickly gets bad again.

  • Stay away from windows, you could get hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm. Stay in a room with no windows or go inside a closet.

  • Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s house.


Returning Home

  • Wait for officials to say it is safe before going back home.

  • Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles, and downed wires.

  • Do not touch floodwaters because they may contain sewage, bacteria and chemicals.

  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, tent, or camper – or even outside near an open window. Carbon monoxide can't be seen or smelled, but it can kill you fast. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak, get to fresh air right away – do not delay.

How to Clean Up Safely

  • Wear appropriate protective equipment including gloves, goggles and boots.

  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.

  • When cleaning heavy debris, work with a partner. Make sure that you have proper training before using equipment, such as chainsaws.

  • Heart attacks are a leading cause of deaths after a hurricane. Be mindful of overworking.

Tips to Stay Healthy

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out food that got wet or warm.

  • Ask your healthcare provider for guidance if you have refrigerated medicines that got warm.

  • Avoid drinking tap water until local officials say it is safe.

  • Take care of yourself - Understand it’s normal to have a lot of feelings. Eat healthy food and get enough sleep to help deal with stress.


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