Hurricane Preparation Guide and Checklist

Print this out and use as a checklist as you prepare your Disaster Kit

You must first decide if you will evacuate your home or stay and ride out the storm. Such a decision should be a family decision and must include considering such factors as:

  • Are you in a storm surge or flood zone?
  • Is your home structurally capable of withstanding hurricane force winds?
  • Do the openings in your home, such as the windows, sliding glass doors, and jalousie doors, have shutters to keep the powerful winds and rain out?
  • Do any of your family members have special medical needs that will require help you cannot provide?
  • Is your home capable of providing a “livable” environment after the storm when all utilities are lost?
  • Do you have a generator and adequate fuel? (note: it can be dangerous to store gasoline in a garage)

If you are going to evacuate:

  • Where will you go?
  • Will you be using a local shelter?
  • Where is the shelter located?
  • What route will you drive to get there?
  • How long will it take to pick up everyone?
  • What will you need to bring with you? (Think 3-day Survival Kit)
  • How will you care for your pets?
  • What property security needs to be done?
  • Will you need to notify other family members where you will be?
  • How will you communicate?

You may need the following supplies whether you stay or leave your home:

  • Flashlight with plenty of extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • First aid kit (bandages, aspirin, disinfectant swabs)
  • Prescription medications (at least a 2 weeks supply) in their original bottle, plus copies of the prescriptions.
  • Eyeglasses (with a copy of the prescription) or contacts and contact solution
  • Water (at least one gallon per person per day is recommended; more is better); remember to fill all tubs (make sure stopper doesn’t leak or use a water bladder) and do not forget your water heaters hold fresh water
  • Foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking
  • Coolers for food storage
  • Items that infants and elderly household members may require
  • Medical equipment and devices, such as dentures, crutches, prostheses, etc.
  • Change of clothes for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member
  • Checkbook, cash in large and small bills and credit cards. See comment below on ATM’s and timing
  • Make sure you have a current Louisiana map if you have to evacuate
  • Cell phone charger and car charger if you have one
  • Charge your laptop computer batteries
  • Digital camera for before/after pictures of property
  • Books, games, toys for children
  • Disposable plates and utensils
  • Manual can opener
  • Scissors
  • Toilet Paper
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen
  • Air mattress / air pump

Examples of non-perishable food:

  • Powdered milk or evaporated milk
  • Canned meats/fish
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Jello and pudding cups
  • Canned soups
  • Dry fruit and nuts
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Instant coffee/tea
  • Instant noodles

Important papers to have handy:

  • Driver’s license or personal identification
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of residence (deed or lease)
  • Insurance policies/numbers (many insurance companies will give a cash advance for disaster assistance)
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Stocks, bonds, and other negotiable certificates
  • Wills, deeds, and other legal documents. Make sure all documents are in a waterproof bag.

Protect your home.

Trees need to be trimmed to minimize the damage they may cause to your home or someone else’s. Vehicles left out in the open are often overturned by high winds. If you do not have a garage or carport, locate a protected spot to park your vehicles. A good location might be on the leeward side of the house, away from the main force of the wind.

Identify loose items located outside, such as lawn furniture, grills, toys, yard equipment, etc., that should be brought inside before a storm. When picked up by high winds, these items can become deadly missiles.

If you leave, turn off electricity and water. Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker, and turn off water at the main valve.

Leave natural gas on. Unless local officials advise otherwise, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on, and it may take weeks for a professional to respond.

Turn off propane gas service. Propane tanks often become dislodged in disasters.

If flooding is expected, consider using sand bags to keep water away from your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a wall one foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.

Cover the outside of windows with shutters or plywood. Use shutters that are rated to provide significant protection from windblown debris, or fit plywood coverings over all windows. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. All tape does is prevent windows from shattering. Using tape on windows is not recommended.

Move objects that may get damaged by wind or water to safer areas of your home. Move television sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, and easily moveable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home and away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, blankets, or burlap. Wrapping them in plastic is also a good idea.

Make a visual or written record of all of your household possessions. Record model and serial numbers. This list could help you prove the value of what you owned if those possessions are damaged or destroyed, and can assist you to claim deductions on taxes.

Do this for all items in your home, including expensive items such as sofas, chairs, tables, beds, chests, wall units, and any other furniture too heavy to move. Store a copy of the record somewhere away from home, such as in a safe deposit box.

If it’s possible that your home may be significantly damaged by impending disaster, consider storing your household furnishings temporarily elsewhere.

It is also important to fuel all vehicles before the storm hits. In addition, remember to get to the ATM or bank before it closes and secure some cash since banks will probably be closed for some time after a severe storm. Gas stations may accept only cash and no credit cards. Finally, keep a photo I.D. that also shows your home address. This may become important when asking a police officer or National Guardsman for permission to re-enter your neighborhood.

Charge up your cellular phones and any spare cell phone batteries you have. Text messaging will work when a cell call will not.

Get a booster on your tetanus shot in case you step on a nail or cut yourself in the aftermath.

Back-up your computer. Put any valuable information, e.g., insurance policy numbers, contacts, bank account numbers, etc. on a portable flash drive.

If you have to go to a shelter, please note that many will not permit firearms, pets or alcohol.

Make a list of important phone numbers and put the list in your wallet or purse.

Get pictures of your family and pets and put them in your wallet or purse. Such pictures will be invaluable if you have to ask for help in locating loved ones.

Designate someone outside this area to act as contact point for friends and relatives who inquire about your safety. Parents are good choices if they live outside the hurricane zone. Then, you can call one person and everyone else can get the information by calling them.

Have an emergency plan where everyone can meet if family members get separated during the hurricane. Have an out-of-state contact so everyone will have someone to call and convey where each family member or friend is. Let your neighbors know if you are leaving and give them a contact number to reach you in the event they need to.

Check out hotels that allow pets, so you won’t have to put your pet in a shelter when you evacuate.

Before the storm. Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations. Have a current photograph of your pet. Remember your pet carrier.

During the storm. Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: proper identification, collar and rabies tags and proper identification on all belongings. Include an ample supply of food, water and food bowls. Include any medications and specific care instructions.

Have phone numbers for local police, hospital and fire stations in the event you need to contact them.

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