The hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th. The following information is a step by step guide created and published by the American Red Cross www.redcrosstbc.org on what you should do when a hurricane WATCH or WARNING is announced.
Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
Hurricane conditions are expected in the specific area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for severe weather such as a hurricane or a tornado.
Pick two places to meet: Right outside your home in case of sudden emergency; Outside your neighborhood is case you can’t return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number of where you are to meet.
Ask an out- of-state friend to be your “family contact”. After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. YOU may not have Cell phone service if towers have been damaged. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contacts phone number. Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets as they are not allowed in Red Cross shelter. If you need to evacuate, and cannot kennel your pet, leave it in the most protected room in your home (around good ventilation with as few windows as possible) with plenty of water available. Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places – a friend’s home in another town, a motel or a shelter.
Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. Remember you may not internet access. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Continue listening regularly to the NOAA weather radio station for updated information. Hurricanes can change direction, intensity and speed very suddenly. What was a minor threat several hours ago can quickly escalate to a major threat. Listen to the advise of local officials, and evacuate if they tell you to do so.
Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Leaving an area that may be affected will help disaster safety. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific area at greatest risk in your community. Following the advise of local authorities is your safest protection.
Prepare your property for high winds. Hurricane winds can blow large, heavy objects and send them crashing into homes. Anything not secured may become a deadly and damaging projectile. Bring lawn furniture inside, as well as outdoor decorations or ornaments, trashcans, hanging plants, or anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, and then strategically remove branches so that wind can blow through.
Secure building by closing and securing each window of your home. Remove outside antennas.
Moor boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer. Use tie-downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house. Fill your car’s gas tank. If advised to evacuate you may have to travel long distances or be caught in traffic, idling for long periods of time. Gas stations along the route may be closed.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and official instructions.
If officials announce a hurricane warning, they may ask you to leave your home as soon as possible to be safe. take your Disaster Supplies Kit and go to a shelter. Call your check-in contact so someone will know where you are going.
If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, on the first floor away from windows, skylights and glass doors, even if they are covered.
Close all interior doors. Secure and brace exterior doors.
Have a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy.
Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, sinks, plastic bottles and cooking utensils.
If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce “surge” when electricity if restores.
If in a mobile home, check tie-downs and evacuate immediately.
Be aware that the calm “eye” is deceptive; the storm is not over.
Watch out for flooding.
Be alert to tornadoes.
Leave as soon as possible (if possible in the daylight).
Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone or area prone to flooding, move furniture to a higher floor.
Bring pre-assembled Disaster Supplies Kit as well as prescription medications, car keys, and maps, documents, including driver’s license, social security car, proof of residence (copy of deed, electric or water bill, or copy of lease, insurance policies, wills, deed, birth certificates, tax records etc.
Bring the items with you to a shelter
Lock up your home and leave.
Continue listening to local radio and TV stations.
If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe.
Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the hurricane or tropical storm has weakened.
Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a barricade, follow detour signs or turn around and go another way.
Stay on firm ground.
Help injured or trapped persons.
Help neighbors who may require special assistance with infants, elderly people, people with disabilities.
Avoid loose or dangling power lines; immediately report them to the power company, police or fire department.
Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before returned to service.
Stay out of building if water remains around the building.
When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Take pictures of the damage of both the building and its contents for insurance claims.
Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
Check refrigerator food for spoilage.
Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.
Use the telephone only for emergency calls.