Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Hurricanes bring high winds, heavy rain, storm surge (rise in water level), flooding and tornadoes. These storms are dangerous and can cause damage to places far inland. Prepare now so you can stay safe.
What Should You Do Before a Hurricane?
Make plans to stay safe.
Determine your best protection from high winds and flooding. Have a plan to evacuate and a plan to shelter safely. Take time now to gather the supplies and knowledge you will need when the storm arrives.
Plan to Evacuate
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately and go to a safe place.
If authorities advise or order you to evacuate, grab your emergency kit and go right away. If you are not in a mandatory evacuation zone, you will need to decide whether to leave the area, move to higher ground nearby, or stay in your home. If you decide to stay home, remember that even if the high winds and floodwaters do not reach your home, you may lose power and water, and you may not be able to leave your home for several days if the roads are impassable.
If local authorities advise you to evacuate, go right away.
If you evacuated, don't return home until local officials have declared that it is safe to enter your community and you have the supplies you will need. If your home was damaged by hurricane-force winds or flooding after the storm, it should be carefully inspected and thoroughly cleaned.
Wait for officials to say it is safe before going back home.
Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles, and downed wires. They can electrocute you.
Do not touch floodwaters because they may contain sewage, bacteria and chemicals that can make you ill.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, tent, or camper – or even outside near an open window. Carbon monoxide can't be seen or smelled, but it can kill you fast. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak, get to fresh air right away – do not delay.
How to Clean Up Safely
Wear appropriate protective equipment including gloves, goggles and boots.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.
When cleaning heavy debris, work with a partner. Make sure that you have proper training before using equipment, such as chainsaws.
Heart attacks are a leading cause of deaths after a hurricane. Be mindful of overworking.
Tips to Stay Healthy
When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out food that got wet or warm. Ask your healthcare provider for guidance if you have refrigerated medicines that got warm.
Avoid drinking tap water until local officials say it is safe.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s normal to have a lot of feelings.
Eat healthy food and get enough sleep to help you deal with stress.
You can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline for free if you need to talk to someone at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.