Know whether you’ll need to evacuate.
Contact your local government management office, or check here, to find out whether you live in a hurricane evacuation area. Learn the best evacuation routes, and keep a current map in your car in case you have to take unfamiliar roads and the maps system on your smartphone or in your car isn’t working. If you don’t have your own transportation, arrange for a ride in case you’re ordered to evacuate. Prepare an emergency supply kit for your car with extra keys, food, water, auto supplies, a first-aid kit and more. Finally, be sure to fill your car’s gas tank so you don’t have to hunt for gas while evacuating.
Know your community’s warning system and emergency shelter locations. Download the Emergency App for iPhone or Android. Follow NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center on social media, and tune in to local news.
Make an emergency kit.
As you prepare for a hurricane, make sure you have enough water and nonperishable food for each family member and pet to last from three days to two weeks, depending on your situation. Also include extra clothes, first aid, essential medications, blankets, flashlights, batteries (regular and phone), tools for emergency repairs, important documents that are unavailable electronically. Check the entire list.
While you’re at it, store contacts for family, emergency services, friends, neighbors and your insurance company in your phone.
Get your house ready.
Ensure that your gutters are free from buildup and debris, so they don’t overflow from the heavy rains. Adjust or add extensions to downspouts to direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation.
Put lawn furniture, bikes, trash cans, toys and other small, lightweight items inside your house or store them in a shed.
Check with your local utility company(ies) about steps you should take to protect your home while you’re away.
If you don’t have hurricane shutters, cover windows with 5/8-inch plywood that’s cut to fit and ready to install as a last-minute alternative.
Limit flood damage by moving as much as you can to a higher floor. If possible, place major appliances on concrete blocks above expected flood levels.
Plan for a power outage by charging cellphones and other electronic devices. It’s a good idea to have a backup battery, too. Stock up on ice and coolers, and fill sinks, tubs and other clean containers with water for drinking and hygiene. Also have extra cash on hand, since ATMs may not work.