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.
What's the Difference Between a Hurricane and a Typhoon?
Hurricanes and typhoons are the same type of storm – the name changes based on where they occur.
How Can You Protect Your Home Before a Hurricane?
Prepare for Wind
Secure items outside, such as lawn furniture and trash cans, that could be picked up by high winds and hurt someone.
Anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside, such as gas grills and propane tanks.
Trim or remove trees close enough to fall on your home. Review insurance policies.
Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or pre-cut plywood.
Prepare for Flooding
Clean out drains, gutters and downspouts.
Stockpile protective materials such as plastic sheeting and sandbags.
Consider installing a sump pump with battery backup.
Consider elevating the heating system, water heater, and electric panel.
How Much Do You Know About Hurricane Safety?
Test your knowledge with our quick quiz. You might ace the test or you might learn something new — either way, you win!
What Should You Do During a Hurricane?
If ordered to evacuate, leave immediately.
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.
Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
Take shelter in a designated storm shelter or an interior room for high winds.
Stay away from glass windows and doors.
Move to higher ground before flooding begins.
Never walk, swim, or try to drive through floodwater.
Remember: Turn Around! Don’t Drown!
How Does the Red Cross Help During Hurricanes?
When a hurricane or tropical storm strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food and comfort.
How Can You Stay Safe After a Hurricane?
Don't return home until you're told it's safe.
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.