Preparing for a Hurricane: Before and After

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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Preparing Before the Hurricane

Here are two main areas of hurricane preparation.

What is my family plan for a hurricane?

The National Hurricane Center suggests having a family disaster plan that is written down and discussed with all family members before a storm approaches. Create a checklist for all the things you will need to do in the event of an approaching storm.

  • Know how vulnerable your home may be to storm surge, flooding and winds.
  • Know your Zone. In areas that can be affected by hurricanes, local emergency management assigns Zones (areas of a city or county, often based on zip codes) in the event evacuation is suggested (or required). Usually the first to evacuate are those closest to the water (storm surge susceptible: for example, Zone A) and those in mobile homes.
  • If you are not required to evacuate, know which rooms in your house are safest to weather out the storm (usually interior rooms without windows).
  • If you must evacuate, determine in advance your evacuation route and where you will go.
  • If you need to evacuate, plan ahead in regard to what to do with your pets. If you need to evacuate, most hurricane shelters do not permit animals, and those that do often require advance registration.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit (see below).
  • Use a NOAA weather radio and make sure you have extra batteries (preferably fresh or new ones still in the package).
  • Take locally offered or Internet based First Aid, CPR, and disaster preparedness classes.

How do I create a hurricane supply kit?

A hurricane supply kit should be prepared in advance of the storm season, should be easily accessible in case you need to evacuate, and should contain items you will need to ride out a storm, no matter where you are.

The National Hurricane Center suggests the following:

  • Water: at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
  • Food: for 3 to 7 days. Include non-perishable items, food for infants
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Clothing
  • First Aid Kit
  • Prescription drugs: (enough for at least one to two weeks)
  • Toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.)
  • Flashlight, radio, fresh batteries
  • Telephones: Fully charge cell phones before the storm in case of power outage, with an extra battery if you have one
  • Cash (including small bills) and credit cards: Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods of time after the storm
  • Keys to the home, vehicles, sheds
  • Toys, books, and games for children to keep them occupied
  • Important documents in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
  • Tools: keep a set of tools with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Pet care items (see list below)

For more detail on these items, please visit the National Hurricane Center site.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2016

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