Hurricane Action Checklist

Here is a list of the many things to consider be fore, during and after a hurricane. Some of the safety rules will make things easier for you during a hurricane. All are important and could help save your life and the lives of others. Stay or Leave?

When a hurricane threatens your area, you will have to make the decision whether you should evacuate or whether you can ride out the storm in safety at home. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave! Their advice is based on knowledge of the strength of the storm and its potential for death and destruction.

In general:
  • If you live on the coastline or offshore islands, plan to leave.

  • If you live near a river or in a flood plain, plan to leave.

  • If you live on high ground, away from coastal beaches, consider staying. In any case, the ultimate decision to stay or leave will be yours. Study the following list and carefully consider the factors involved especially the items pertaining to storm surge.

At Beginning of Hurricane Season (June) Make Plans for Action:

  • Learn the storm surge history for each Storm Category Level and elevation of your area

  • Learn safe routes inland

  • Learn location of official shelters

  • Determine where to move your boat in an emergency

  • Trim back dead wood from trees

  • Clean and check for loose rain gutters and down spouts

  • Decide where to house pets and livestock out of the area

  • Install permanent wooden or metal storm shutters or board up windows with 5/8" plywood.  Don't use tape.  It does not work..

  • Install metal straps or hurricane clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure

When a Hurricane Watch  is Issued for Your Area:

  • Check often for official bulletins on radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio

  • Fuel car

  • Check mobile home tie-downs

  • Moor small craft or move to safe shelter

  • Stock up on canned provisions

  • Check supplies of special medicines and drugs

  • Check batteries for radio and flashlights

  • Secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors

  • Board or shutter windows to prevent shattering

  • Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent their lifting from their tracks

When a Hurricane Warning is Issued for Your Area:

  • Stayed turned to radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins

  • Stay home if sturdy and on high ground 

  • Board up and brace garage and porch doors to prevent being blown in from wind

  • Leave mobile homes

  • Leave areas which might be affected by storm surge or stream flooding

  • Turn off propane tanks

  • Secure your boat or move it to a safer mooring

      Evacuate if you:

  • Are directed by local authorities to do so.  Be sure to follow their instructions

  • If you live in a mobile home, a high-rise building, on the coast, a floodplain (near a river or inland waterway, or otherwise feel you will be in danger

  • If you are in an area that could be affected by the storm surge

  • Take small valuables and papers but travel light

  • Lock up house

  • Drive carefully to family, friends, hotel, or nearest public shelter using recommended evacuation routes.

      If You Are Told to Evacuate:

  • Turn off the utilities (gas, electricity, water) at the main stations as advised by emergency officials.

  • Evacuate as soon as practical after you get the announcement, preferably early in the day so most driving is during daylight hours

  • Stick to designated evacuation routes.  If you break down or need help, this is the most likely place to find it.

  • Take the most reliable vehicle and avoid taking multiple vehicles that might add to gridlock.

      If You Cannot Evacuate and Are Staying In Your Home:

  • Move valuables to upper floors

  • Bring in pets

  • Fill containers and bathtub with several days supply for bathing, flushing toilet, and cleaning (not drinking water)

  • Turn up refrigerator to maximum cold and don't open unless necessary

  • Use phone only for emergencies

  • Go to a safe indoor place for refuge, such as an interior room, closet, or hallway.  Stay downstairs only if you are not in a flood prone or storm surge area.

  • Do not go outdoors during the storm, even in its early stages.  Flying debris is extremely dangerous

  • Close all doors, brace external doors, stay clear of windows and keep curtains and blinds shut

  • In necessary take cover under a heavy table, or under something protective

  • Don't be tricked by a sudden lull in the storm, it may be the "eye" passing over.  The storm will resume and possibly catch you before you can get inside.

  • Don't use candles or open flames (possibility of leaking gas), use flashlights

Immediately After the Storm or the All-Clear is Given or returning home:

  • Check for gas or water leaks, electrical lines down, or damaged appliances

  • Use extreme caution outside.  Be alert for downed power lines; broken glass; snakes and other animals; damage to building foundations, streets, and bridges; and coastal or hillside erosion

  • Listen to radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for information or instructions

  • Don't sightsee

  • Drive carefully; watch for dangling electrical wires, undermined roads, flooded low spots

  • Avoid closed roads

  • Stay on firm ground.  Do not drive or walk in water as it may sweep you away or have high voltage..

  • Report observed broken or damaged water, sewer, and electrical lines

  • Use caution re-entering home

  • Check for food and water for spoilage

  • Do not drink tap water until you know it is safe, usually there is a "boil water" directive first

The Recovery Process

  • For immediate assistance to individuals or families, contact the American Red Cross or other voluntary agencies.

  • Check news sources for information on disaster assistance

  • If you have property damage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible

  • Visit the Disaster Recovery Center and sign up