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A Guide To Hurricane Preparation

Family disaster plan, pet shelters, disaster supplies. This is your go-to guide for hurricane preparation.
(AP Photo/Ron Heflin)

What To Do Now

• Create a Family Disaster Plan. Click here for FEMA's readiness form.
• Decide where you plan to go if you are requested to evacuate. You may go to a hotel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to a Red Cross shelter.
• Put together your disaster supplies as recommended.
• Purchase plywood and window clips so you have the supplies to protect windows, glass doors, and skylights in the event of a storm.
• Plan for pets. Pets often are not allowed in public shelters. If you need to make arrangements for your pet, contact your vet, local SPCA or Humane Society.
• Trim trees to reduce potential damage from falling limbs. Trim them back from house and power lines.
• Clean rain gutters and keep them free of debris. You can create your own flood with clogged drains and gutters.
• Pick up things around your yard that you are no longer using, such as empty plant pots, etc.
• Collect insurance information and important papers. Collect your auto and homeowners or renters insurance policies. Don't forget health insurance cards, and bring copies of your bank and investment account numbers, since you may not be able to access these accounts online and may need to call instead. Keep all this info in place so it's easy to find and take with you if needed, preferably in a waterproof container.
• Take a written inventory of personal possessions. Most people couldn't list all the items in their living room without looking. Make a written inventory now so you'll know exactly what's been lost later. A video or digital record also becomes extremely useful during the claims process.
• Put together a first aid kit.
• Prepare your car. Check gas, oil, and water. Also, check your car's emergency gear, such as a flashlight, spare tire, and jumper cables.
• If you may need to evacuate and don't have the transportation to do it on your own, register now with your local Emergency Management Office.

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Credit: AP

If You Can Stay Home

• Get stocked up with your disaster supplies. Click here for a supplies list.
• Make sure your car is filled with gas.
• Fill up your freezer with containers of water so they will freeze before the storm hits. You can use zip locks or plastic containers. If you lose power, your freezer will stay frozen longer if it is full.
• As the storm gets close, turn your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.

If You Evacuate

• If local authorities tell you to evacuate, do so, especially if you live in low-lying areas which could be easily flooded. Leave early before roads become jammed or flooded and you can't get out.
• If your home is vulnerable to flooding, move valuables and furniture to a higher level.
• Pack what you will need. If you are going to a public shelter, the most important items to take are your medication, a blanket, the portable radio, an extra change of clothing and perhaps a small supply of packaged foods.
• Turn off water and electricity at the main valve, breakers or fuses.
• Shelter your car. Keep your vehicle in the garage or on higher ground. Avoid parking it under a tree or on a low-lying street where it could be damaged by water.
• Arrange for a ride with nearby neighbors or relatives if you do not have a car. You can also call a local senior citizens group, your church, or your community emergency management office for help in arranging a ride. Make these arrangements early.
• Keep your gas tank as full as possible during hurricane season. Fuel may be difficult to get.
• Learn the recommended evacuation route from your home to safer, higher ground. Local broadcasts will tell you where to go during an evacuation.
• Stay in touch. Take your cell phone charger, a portable radio, and extra batteries. If you have access to a national weather radio, bring it along, too.

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Photo credit: AP

What To Do During The Hurricane

  • Closely monitor Radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio for hurricane updates and emergency information.
  • Unplug small appliances and turn off propane tanks.
  • Remain indoors in an interior hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest level of your house well away from any windows.
  • Close all interior doors and secure and brace external doors.
  • Do not be fooled by the eye of the hurricane and its temporary period of peaceful weather conditions. The length of time within the eye varies from several minutes to a couple hours, depending on the size of the storm.

Stay away from windows and glass doors. You could be struck by flying debris.

Planning For Your Pet

In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, then the most effective thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving your pets behind may result in them being lost, injured, or even worse. Make sure to identify locations for your pets and consider boarding facilities.

The Annapolis High School will open as a pet-friendly shelter at 4 p.m. Saturday.

  • Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm.
  • Pet shelters will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
  • If pets cannot be found after the hurricane, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.

Before the Hurricane

  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal – carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.

 During the Hurricane

Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have the following:

  • Proper identification on collar and rabies tag
  • Proper identification on all belongings
  • A carrier or cage
  • A leash
  • An ample supply of food
  • Water and food bowls
  • Any necessary medications
  • Specific care instructions

 Prepare a disaster supply kit for your pets that should include:

  • Medications
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sturdy leashes and collar and/or harnesses
  • Carriers to transport pets safely
  • Current photos of your pet
  • Food
  • Portable Water
  • Bowls
  • Can opener for canned food

 Keep current information on:

  • Feeding schedules
  • Medical conditions and medical records
  • Behavior problems

Preparing Your Kids For A Hurricane

FEMA Ready Kids

Your family and teachers will get very busy with preparations whenever a hurricane threatens a community. There's plenty kids can do to help their family and friends prepare.  Create a plan that will help you be ready for many different kinds of unexpected situations and get your kids involved in the preparation!

Kids' Health

Many kids won't be directly affected by hurricanes, but it's normal to have questions or worries.  Use this website as a guide to talk to your kids about their feelings, being creative in expressing their feelings and ways they can help.

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