Hurricanes can bring many hazards. As a storm travels over the open ocean, it pushes the water in front of it, which creates a storm surge that drives seawater onto land. Heavy rainfall can cause flooding both during the storm and in the days following as water drains into rivers and lakes that overflow. High winds and tornadoes can set debris flying, and dangerous rip currents can form on the shore.
Your vulnerability to these hazards depends on several factors, including the strength of the storm, where it makes landfall, and your own location. How you prepare before the storm, can make a huge difference in how you weather the event. Follow these hurricane preparedness and safety tips to ready your home and family for hurricane season. Before hurricane season:
Prepare your family. Have at least one person in your family certified in basic first aid - the American Red Cross or your local fire or police department often teach these classes. Additionally, you should build an easily transportable emergency kit and make an evacuation plan for your family. Find the route to primary and secondary meeting locations for your family, and do research to determine where the nearest emergency shelters would be located in case of evacuation.
Identify an emergency contact. Identify a trusted contact person outside your area who can keep track of your family and serve as your point of contact if you need to share information with friends and family on your whereabouts. It's also a good idea to have this trusted contact keep a record of important phone numbers (like schools, doctors and your place of work).
Make a plan for pets. In case of evacuation, you should also create an emergency kit for your pets with food and any necessary supplies. Determine if emergency shelters in your area will allow pets in the case of storm, and if not, come up with an alternative plan.
Prepare your home. Keep trees on your property pruned, gutters cleaned and roofs clear of loose tiles or shingles. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you may want to consider investing in hurricane shutters, which should be properly anchored and installed before a storm hits. When a hurricane is forecasted, take inside anything that could be easily tossed about by the wind, and secure larger items that can't be brought inside.
Learn about what steps to take after a hurricane to keep your family and your home safe.