Assemble a disaster supply kit
A disaster supply kit should include at least a three-day supply of bottled water, nonperishable food, first aid supplies, prescription medicines, a battery-operated radio, copies of insurance papers and extra cash.
Prepare for a power outage
Check the working condition of flashlights, batteries and battery-powered radios. Should power go out in your area, a working battery-powered radio may be your only way to get outside information. Also, in the event of a power failure, flashlights may be your only source of light.
If you are home and the power goes out, and your refrigerator is full of food, do not open your refrigerator unless it is absolutely necessary. Most foods will stay cold in a closed refrigerator for up to three days. However, if in doubt about the safety of certain foods, be safe and discard them.
Hurricane Warning vs. Hurricane Watch
A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected in the area usually within 24 hours. A hurricane watch (which normally precedes a hurricane warning) means that hurricane conditions are possible in the area within 36 hours.
Make sure the radio you buy is both electric and battery powered in case you lose electricity.
Maintain an adequate supply of food and water
Make sure you have enough non-perishable food and water on hand for one to two weeks and if there are infants in the home, make sure you have adequate baby food and supplies on hand. In the event of a catastrophic storm, you could be without power for at least that long. It is recommended that you have one gallon of water per person, per day.
Protect your home
Buy and store materials, such as plywood and plastic, to secure your home in the event of a storm.
Inspect your home's exterior
Check the area around your home for potential problems. Make sure rain gutters and spouts are secure and not clogged. Inspect the roof for loose tiles, shingles, or debris. Keep trees and shrubbery well trimmed and remove any dead or dying branches. Make sure any loose items, such as garbage cans, lawn furniture, or plants, are taken inside or tied down.
The first thing you should do after the storm is inspect your home to see if you have damage. Remove any debris that might cause added danger (but remember to be aware of gas leaks and avoid any downed power lines). Make any temporary repairs needed to weatherproof your home. Make a list of items to cover with you insurance agent and take photos if possible. If your phones are working, do not use them except for urgent calls since phone lines will be jammed. Listen to local radio and television reports for information on power restoration. Utility crews will already be at work to restore power.
Secure important documents
Gather insurance policies and other important documents and store in a safe, dry place. It is also recommended that you inventory your property, on videotape if possible, and store it with these documents. You may also want to send copies to a relative out of the area.
Ensure quick access to emergency numbers
Post emergency telephone numbers near your phone. Do not call 911 unless you have a real emergency. Also, teach children how to make long distance phone calls and how and when to call 911.
Prepare for possible evacuation
Anyone who lives in low-lying flood-prone areas should be prepared to evacuate. If you live in an area that is likely to be evacuated, contact friends or family members who live in higher elevation areas and arrange to stay with them. Know the evacuation routes, plan to leave with plenty of time to get to a safe place, and review these plans with your family. You should also know where public shelters are located in your area. Public shelters do not allow pets, so make alternate arrangements if necessary. In addition, anyone who is at risk for medical reasons could be forced to evacuate. Make sure to bring adequate medical supplies with you, such as any prescription medicine you need. You should have at least a seven-day supply. Other items you will need if evacuating: important papers (valid identification); sleeping bags, blankets, pillows; extra clothing, infant necessities; personal hygiene items; for service animals, bring food and water.
Downed Power Lines
If you see a downed power line, always assume it is still on and avoid it at all costs until utility crews can remove and repair it.