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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How do I secure my home during a hurricane?

The best thing you can do to reduce damage to home and property is to protect areas where wind can enter. If you have hurricane shutters, install them before the storm. Never go outside during a storm to put up shutters.

Reinforce roofs, straps, shutters, doors, and garage doors. If possible, you can reinforce these areas when doing other home improvement or renovation. Check local building codes. For more information on retrofitting your home, visit The National Hurricane Center.

Flood damage is usually not covered by homeowners insurance in some areas. Check with your homeowner policy's agent to find out if you have flood insurance coverage. Flood insurance usually has to be purchased far in advance of any impending storms. For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program call 1-888-CALL-FLOOD ext. 445, TDD# 1-800-427-5593.

What about my pets during a hurricane?

Plans need to be made for the entire family prior to a hurricane, and that includes pets. If you must evacuate, plan to take your pets with you. Your pet should wear an ID tag with your current contact information. Make sure you have a cell phone and even an out-of-town contact listed in case you are not reachable and you become separated from your animals.

  • Friends and family outside the area are usually the easiest places to bring pets.
  • Most hotels do not accept pets, so research ahead of time for pet-friendly locations in the event you need to evacuate.
  • Most shelters also do not accept pets, and those that do usually require pre-registration. Know in advance where your local pet-friendly shelters are and how you can register ahead of time if needed.

Just as you need a hurricane kit for your human family, you should also have one for your pets. Your pet's kit should include:

  • Food, water, and medications for the pets for 3 – 5 days
  • Leashes, harnesses, collars
  • Cat litter and litter boxes
  • Plastic bags and newspaper
  • Crates (it is a good idea to crate-train your animals prior to a storm – during a storm they may need to be crated for hours at a time, and pet-friendly shelters require it).
  • Pet beds and toys if there is space
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help identify them if you become separated
  • Information on feeding, medications, behavior, and your veterinarian's contact information in case you need to board your animal(s)

For more information on preparing for a storm and keeping your pets safe, visit the Humane Society of the United States.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2016

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