With Hurricane Florence headed toward parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, here’s how to prepare:
Make a plan:
- Stock up on emergency supplies for your home and car.
- Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them near every phone in your house or on the refrigerator. Program them into your cell phone, too.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it. Read the National Fire Protection Association’s tips for using fire extinguishers.
- Find out where the nearest shelter is and the different routes you can take to get there if you have to leave your home.
- Make sure that everyone in your family knows what the warning sirens in your area sound like — and what to do if they go off.
- Have at least 5 gallons of water per person (which should be enough to last 3 to 5 days).
- Put together a 3 to 5 day supply of food that doesn’t go bad (like canned food).
- Gather any prescription medicines.
- First aid kit.
- Battery-powered radio.
- Extra batteries.
- Sleeping bags or extra blankets.
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet cleaning cloths (like baby wipes) in case you don’t have clean water.
- Tampons and pads.
Get your family ready:
- Go over your emergency plan with your family. Make sure you have the supplies you need.
- Keep checking for updates about the storm. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check online.
- Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
- Pack important documents (like wills or passports) with you.
- 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.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly.
Get your home ready:
- 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 outside. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the window frames to protect your windows. This can help 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 it 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 CO detector to prevent CO poisoning.
- Lower the thermostat in your refrigerator and freezer to the coolest possible temperature. If your power goes out, your food will stay fresh longer.
Get your car ready:
- Fill your car’s gas tank. You may also want to consider making plans with friends or family to get a ride.
- Have an emergency kit:
- Food that doesn’t go bad (like canned food)
- Jumper cables (sometimes called booster cables)
- Tools, like a roadside emergency kit
- A first aid kit and instructions
- A fire extinguisher
- Sleeping bags
- Flashlight and extra batteries
Evacuate or stay home?
If you are told to evacuate, do so and at the proper time. 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. You may also hear an order to stay at home. Sometimes, staying at home is safer than leaving.
If told to evacuate:
- Only take what you really need with you, like your cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification (like a passport or license), and cash.
- Make sure you have your car emergency kit.
- If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water. Also unplug your appliances.
- Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend even if there’s traffic. Other routes might be blocked.
If you need to stay home:
- Keep listening 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 gets worse again quickly.
- Stay away from windows. You could get hurt by pieces of broken glass during a storm. Stay in a room with no windows, or go inside a closet.
- Be careful. Winds can blow debris — like pieces of broken glass and other objects — at high speeds. Flying debris is the most common cause of injury during a hurricane. You’re also at a higher risk of breaking a bone or cutting yourself on loose nails, metal, or other objects.
- 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.
Stay safe with the incoming hurricane. As always, follow the advice of local officials. All information was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.