Everything You Should Do Right Now to Prepare for a Hurricane

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If you are new to an area prone to hurricanes or live in a state where they don’t make landfall quite as often as more southern locations, preparing may slip your mind—until it’s too late. Preparing for one of these massive storms isn’t as hard as you might think, though. Here are the things you need to get and do now so you will be ready for a hurricane or tropical storm later.

Have a plan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends making a plan for what you and your family will do in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm. Make sure you have all the emergency phone numbers you need not only programmed into your cell, but written down somewhere. That includes the numbers of family members, doctors, pharmacists, teachers, and anyone else with whom you may need to make contact in an emergency.

Locate the nearest shelter to your home, too. Pay it a visit and plan out all the different routes you could take there, in case your primary route is somehow disrupted. Talk to your family—especially your kids—about how you’ll get to the shelter, what they should do if they can’t get ahold of you, and where you’ll meet them if you have to.

Supplies to get now

Per the CDC, these are the supplies you should have on hand before a big storm hits:

  • Emergency food and water (ideally enough to last at least three days)
  • Any medicine you may need
  • Power sources
  • Flashlights (and extra batteries)
  • Personal items
  • Copies of key documents (like medical docs, wills, identification, etc.)
  • A fire extinguisher

The state of Florida has additional guidance about what to include in your kit:

  • A battery-operated radio
  • A waterproof container for your important documents and money
  • A manual can opener
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Books, magazines, or games
  • Ice packs

Pick up some aspirin, extras of any meds you and your family regularly use, soap, shampoo, deodorant, and other care items. Think of it like you’re packing for a trip. Keep it all in a bag somewhere that your family can access quickly. Check the kit at the beginning of each hurricane season—around mid-May—to be sure any medications, foods, or other special items haven’t expired.

Consider, too, picking up a few portable chargers so your phones and other devices don’t run out of juice at a time when you may need to get ahold of family members. Keep them fully charged and stored away in the kit.

Don’t forget your vehicle

Have an extra emergency kit in your car, too, and don’t ever let your vehicle get too low on gas (although that’s a safety precaution to take at all times, not just when a storm is approaching).

If you don’t have a vehicle, make sure part of your emergency planning includes talking to neighbors or family members who do have one about whether it would be possible for you to evacuate with them if necessary.

Your pets need special preparation

Identify in advance whether any of the shelters in your area are pet-friendly. If they aren’t, you’ll need to have a plan in place for your furry friends before an emergency happens. Reach out to neighbors or friends about whether you and your animal(s) can stay with them in the event of a big storm. In your emergency kit, keep some dry food for your pets, too.


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