Get Ready For Hurricane Season

The 2004 hurricane season was one of the worst on record and forecasters predict this year could be even worse.

There are currently two tropical storms brewing over the Caribbean, which makes a record four named storms, just a month into the season. Last year, the first named storm did not develop until the end of July.

If you live in the hurricane belt, experts say that now - before the major storms are expected - is the time to start planning to prevent damage to your home and family.

Jim Walsh, the co-author of "The Personal Security Handbook," tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen it is important to look around the house for loose quasi-structural items found at your gazebo or patio.

He explains, "The real wildcard when a storm hits, is not the water, which is fairly predictable in how it will come. It's the wind. And the wind, when these strong winds come in, they sometimes will rip loose... these sort of loosely built structural things, handrails, poorly built decking. And toss those pieces of wood or pieces of metal like missiles around the house, the building structure of the home. And that's what does a lot of the kind of unpredictable damage."

He offers the following tips on how to prepare for a hurricane, or any kind of disaster.

Preparing Your House
  • Check for any loose electrical wiring or shaky gas connection, inside and outside. Repair them if you can; call a contractor, if you can't.

  • Look for any loose structures (patios, porches, fences, etc.) outside of your house. Secure them or remove them.

  • Fasten shelves and hanging units inside your house; place heavier items on lower shelves.

  • Make sure pictures, mirrors and other items are hanging away from beds or couches. If they're nearby, take them down.

  • Make sure your water heater is strapped to wall studs or another solid base.

Preparing Your Family
  • Store a three-day supply of water (one gallon--two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food prep and cleaning - for each member of your household, including pets)

  • Store a three-day supply of basic dry food--crackers, snack bars, dried fruit, and dried meat - so that each member of your household (including pets) can eat something every 4 to 6 hours

  • Keep one battery-powered radio or TV for the household and at least two extra sets of batteries for this device

  • Keep one battery-powered flashlight for each member of your household

  • Establish at least two escape routes from your neighborhood, and, in case you're separated during an evacuation, go over them with everyone in your household

  • Establish a safe contact (often a relative or friend) outside of your immediate area that household members can contact or where you can meet in case of separation.