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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Quick GuideFirst Aid: 8 Essential First Aid Items for Car or Purse

First Aid: 8 Essential First Aid Items for Car or Purse

Where can I go to be safe during a storm?

Part of your hurricane preparedness plan should include where to go in the event you need to evacuate your home. Follow instructions of local authorities and evacuate if required. If possible, leave the area before officials issue an order to evacuate, to avoid traffic delays. Ideally, safe places are out of the storm's predicted path, in a structure certified safe against hurricane-force winds (in case the storm path shifts), and are not susceptible to the high tides and storm surges associated with hurricanes; the structure should have emergency food, water, and a backup power source available.

Make sure your vehicle's gas tank is filled beforehand as traffic jams are common, and in the past people have abandoned their vehicles because they ran out of gas and no available gas stations were open for business.

If you plan to stay in a hotel (see above requirements for safe places to stay), keep in mind those closest to your area may fill up quickly. Book ahead and leave early, before the storm begins or before the hotel assigns the booking to someone else because you were late for check-in.

If you plan to stay with friends or family, discuss plans ahead of time, before hurricane season starts.

As a last resort, go to a hurricane shelter. Remember, shelters will be crowded and are not designed for comfort. Bring your disaster kit supplies with you. Most shelters do not accept pets.

During a storm, it is never safe to leave a protective shelter because of the high probability of being hit by flying debris or being knocked off your feet by winds or water surges; continue to listen to the emergency radio broadcasts as they will indicate when it is safe to go outside. Although venturing outside is tempting if the storm's "eye" or center passes over (the eye contains much calmer wind conditions), the storm's furious conditions can be back in a matter of minutes as the eye moves away from your location and you could be cut off from returning to your shelter.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2016

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