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Hurricane Preparedness

Are you ready? The Atlantic and Gulf coastal areas are subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. Living in a hurricane prone area, always be prepared before the hurricane season in case of emergency or evacuation. Below is basic guide of how to get prepared.

Family Disaster Plan

Prepare for hazards that could affect your area with a family disaster plan. Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be at work, school or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe? Disaster may force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services—water, gas, electricity or telephones—were cut off?

Steps to Take

Gather information about hazards.
Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management office, and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans. Assess your risks and identify ways to make your home and property more secure.

Meet with your family to create a disaster plan.
Discuss your plan with your family. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your “family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.

Implement your plan.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
  • Install safety features in your house, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Inspect your home for potential hazards (items that can move, fall, break or catch fire) and correct them.
  • Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number.
  • Keep enough supplies in your home for at least 3 days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car.

Practice and maintain your plan.
Ensure your family knows meeting places, phone numbers and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once each year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months. Contact your local National Weather Service office, American Red Cross chapter or emergency management office for a copy of “Your Family Disaster Plan” (L-191/ARC4466).

Source: Department of Commerce/NOAA


Safety Kit

Below is a checklist of items you should have in your supply kit:

  • Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
  • Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days:
    —non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
    —foods for infants or the elderly
    —snack foods
    —non-electric can opener
    —cooking tools / fuel
    —paper plates / plastic utensils
  • Blankets / Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
  • First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
  • Special Items - for babies and the elderly
  • Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
  • Flashlight / Batteries
  • Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Cash (with some small bills) - Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
  • Keys
  • Toys, Books and Games
  • Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag:
    — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
  • Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled



Pet Plan

Contact your veterinarian or local humane society for information on preparing your pets for an emergency.
Before the Disaster:

  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines. 
  • Have a current photograph 
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet. 
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal - carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand  and turn around. 
  • Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet! Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster. 
  • If you plan to shelter your pet - work it into your evacuation route planning.

During the Disaster:

  • Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
  • Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.
  • Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability. 

After the Disaster:

  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster. 
  • If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible. 
  • After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior. 
  • Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.

Pet Disaster Supply Kit

  • Proper identification including immunization records
  • Ample supply of food and water
  • A carrier or cage
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar and leash 



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