Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm

Create a Strategy

Before the onset of hurricane season each year, ensure that you and your family are well-prepared by planning ahead. Jot down essential phone numbers and keep them on the fridge or close to every phone in your residence. Also, input them into your mobile phone.

Compile an Emergency Supply Kit

Determine the nearest shelter and multiple routes to reach it from your home. If shelter locations in your vicinity are not yet identified, learn the process of locating them in case of a storm.

For pet owners: Identify shelters, pet-friendly hotels, or out-of-town contacts where you can take your pets during an evacuation. Local animal shelters can offer advice regarding pet care during evacuations.

Collect Necessary Emergency Provisions

Amidst and after a hurricane, you might require supplies to ensure your family’s safety and well-being. Bear in mind that a hurricane might disrupt your power and water supply, and road conditions might hinder travel.

Hence, prudent preparation involves stocking up on essential items in advance. Remember to prepare the following:

  • A stash of emergency food and water.
  • A reserve of essential medications.
  • Emergency power sources like flashlights (remember extra batteries).
  • Safety and personal items.
  • Crucial documents, including medical records, legal papers, identification, and passports.
  • A fire extinguisher, with instructions known to your family.

Differentiate Between a Hurricane “Watch” and “Warning”

Stay attuned to alerts from the National Weather Service via TV, radio, or online sources. These alerts are classified into two types:

  • A hurricane watch signifies that there’s a possibility of hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) in a designated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours prior to the expected onset of tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph).
  • A hurricane warning is a more serious warning, indicating that hurricane-force winds are anticipated in a specified area. These warnings are issued 36 hours before the area is expected to experience tropical-storm-force winds, allowing sufficient time for preparations.

For additional information on hurricane alerts, consult the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center. If you’re informed about a hurricane watch or warning in your region, take necessary precautions.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Ensure your vehicle is ready before the storm approaches.

  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Park cars and trucks in a sheltered area or garage.
  • Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Visit for guidelines on preparing your vehicle and determining kit contents.
  • If you lack a vehicle, consider arrangements with friends, family, or authorities for evacuation transportation.

Get Your Loved Ones and Pets Ready

Review your emergency plan with your family.

  • Stay updated on storm developments through TV, radio, or online sources.
  • Contact appropriate authorities about any special needs you or your family members might have.
  • Secure pets and farm animals in a safe location.

Prepare Your Residence

  • Clear your surroundings of items that might become airborne and damage your home during the storm.
  • Secure windows and doors using storm shutters or plywood to prevent glass shattering.
  • Be ready to switch off power if necessary.
  • Store clean water in containers for drinking and other needs.
  • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery to prevent CO poisoning

Prepare for Evacuation or Staying Home

Adhere to authorities’ guidance regarding evacuation or staying put.

In case of an evacuation order:

  • Assemble your emergency kit and take essential items like cell phones, chargers, medications, identification, and cash.
  • Unplug appliances and, if possible, turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Follow recommended routes provided by emergency personnel, even if traffic is congested.
  • Never drive through flooded areas, as even 6 inches of moving water can pose a risk.

For those staying at home:

  • Keep your emergency kit accessible.
  • Stay updated on the hurricane’s status via radio or TV.
  • Remain indoors, avoiding windows and staying in a windowless room or closet.
  • Be prepared to relocate if necessary, either to a shelter or a neighbor’s house.

Remember, safety takes precedence over property protection. Always prioritize your well-being during a hurricane.

NOTE: FEMA has information to help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters specific to your location. Use this page to find local disaster recovery centers, flood maps, fact sheets, FEMA contacts and other resources.

Pet Owners: Here is a list of pet-friendly evacuation shelters (list updated 11/15/2019).

Florida HQ
100 N. State Road 7 Suite 304
Margate, Fl 33063
Office: 866-400-7674
Fax: 866-657-3678
Tennessee HQ
4151 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37064
Office: 615-234-0157
Mon: 9am - 5pm
Tues: 9am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 5pm
Thurs: 9am - 5pm
Fri: 9am - 5pm
Sat & Sun: Closed
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