As all of our communities are susceptible to storms during hurricane season, we have put together our emergency management resources so that you can be prepared before, during, and after the event of a hurricane.
The following material provides information on a variety of hurricane aspects, such as the strength of your home, understanding a storm surge, and preparing for an evacuation.
- Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Consider building a safe room.
- When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used. Additionally, there may be circumstances under which you and your family feel threatened or endangered and you need to leave your home, school, or workplace to avoid these situations.
- The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.
Evacuation: More Common than You Realize
- Evacuations are more common than many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently. Almost every year, people along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts evacuate in the face of approaching hurricanes.
- Ask local authorities about emergency evacuation routes and see if maps are available with evacuation routes marked.
During a Hurricane
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If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- - Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- - Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- - Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- - Turn off propane tanks.
- - Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- - Moor your boat if time permits.
- - Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- - If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- - If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- - If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- - If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- - If you feel you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
- - Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- - Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
- - Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
- - Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- - Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
10 Steps to Protect Your Family During a Hurricane
- 1. Determine are you staying or leaving when the storm is approaching? What evacuation level do you live in?
- 2. If you are leaving pack a plastic box (a GO box) with your medicines, proof of insurance, credit cards, cash, water, food, a video of your possessions and anything else you have to have to survive for up to two weeks.
- 3. Check the condition of your property; remove all potential flying objects, lawn equipment, garbage cans, pool equipment, loose tree limbs. Check that your roof and gutters drain properly. Buy or make window protection, shutters, plywood or have high security window film professionally installed.
- 4. Check your insurance coverage with your agent, video your home and all your possessions. Make two copies, mail one to an out of state friend or relative, take one with you when you leave, put it in your GO box!
- 5. Plan your evacuation; who picks up the children, older relatives? Who picks up last minute food items, prescriptions? Where do you meet? Where do you go? GA, TN, NC? Have a detailed plan. You must leave early when the storm is at least 24 hours away otherwise you may be stuck on the interstate. Fill your car’s gas tank.
- 6. Watch/Listen to weather forecasts every few hours, the storm can change direction and/or intensify very quickly.
- 7. Secure your home, turn off the water and power, lock all doors and windows. Remove all outside objects that could become projectiles.
- 8. Let your out of town relatives know where you are going to, take your cell phones, address books including email addresses so you can contact your friends and relatives once the storm is over.
- 9. Take your pets to an approved shelter.
- 10. Return only after the authorities indicate it is safe. Coming home to no power or water will not be a pleasant or safe experience. Plan to be away for a minimum of several days, could be as long as two weeks.