What should you do when a hurricane strikes? 

There’s no doubt of the immense power of even a Category 1 hurricane, and their high-speed winds and torrential rains hit even harder when you’re unprepared.

The typical hurricane season lasts from June to November (with its peak from mid-August to late October), and can affect huge swaths of the country—even those well inland from coastal areas. Stay vigilant when tracking storms, and have plans in place to evacuate your family if one is headed your way.

 

Before the Storm

Make a plan.

Prepare your emergency kit and make a communication plan. Identify evacuation routes in your area and define a meeting point for your family.

Secure the perimeter.

Keep trees and shrubs trimmed, and clear gutters and downspouts of any debris. Bring in any outdoor furniture, decorations, and anything that’s not secured.

 

During the Storm

Keep informed.

Stay tuned to the local news for updates. Follow any instructions given.

Prepare to turn off utilities.

Before doing so, set your refrigerator to its coldest setting and keep the doors closed to avoid food spoilage.

Gather water.

Fill the bathtub and any large containers with water to be used for washing and sanitation.

 

After the Storm

Listen to authorities.

Make sure to get the “all clear” before returning home.

Avoid flood waters.

Six inches of moving water can knock you down. One foot of fast-moving water can sweep your car away.

Even still water is dangerous.

Pools of water can be electrified from underground or downed power lines.

Take inventory.

Inspect your home and take any pictures of damage that occurred. Stay out of your home if you smell gas, notice fire damage, or if any floodwater remains. 

When water levels are rising, there's no time to think. 

Even without the destructive winds of a hurricane, if you live in a flood plain, any storm can be dangerous. In fact, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, devloping from rain, snow, storm surges or overflow of dams and other water sources -- and often without warning. 

Before the Flood

Make a plan.

Prepare your emergency kit and make a communication plan. Identify evacuation routes in your area and define a meeting point for your family.

Know the risks.

Use FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to determine the levels of flooding commonly found in your area.

Get insured.

Flood damage is not covered by typical homeowner’s policies. Consider getting flood insurance. Note that flood insurance policies can take 30 days or longer to take effect.

Get backup.

Create digital copies of any important paper documents and keep the originals in a water-tight safe.

 

During the Flood

Prepare to evacuate.

Follow any evacuation orders immediately. Follow any directions from local responders as they direct traffic out of flooded areas.

Listen.

Stay tuned to local alert systems for emergency information and instructions.

Turn around, don’t drown!

Never walk, swim or drive through flood waters.

Stay on solid ground.

Avoid bridges over any fast-moving water.

If trapped, stay inside.

If caught in a vehicle during a flood, stay inside. If water enters the vehicle, take refuge on the roof.

Move up.

Move to the highest level of your building (avoid closed attics, as you may become trapped).

 

After the Flood

Get the OK.

Follow instructions from local authorities, returning home only when declared safe. Avoid driving if possible.

Get geared up.

Wear heavy gloves when clearing debris from your home, and be on the lookout for any snakes or wild animals that may be inside.

Don’t wade around.

Floodwater may be contaminated, or may be charged by damaged or underground power lines.

Source:  Ready.gov.

 

Real People. Real Disasters. Real Stories. 

No one can truly understand the power of Mother Nature unless they’ve seen it for themselves. These people have. Read on to learn more about their incredible stories, what they’ve learned and what they wished they had known.

“We Prepared for Two Inches of Water, Not Five Feet.”

How a Vietnam veteran and his wife narrowly escaped the August 2016 flood in South Louisiana that destroyed their home.

Nine Steps to Hurricane Ready

You may think you know what to do in a disaster, but are you prepared? Here are nine manageable steps to help you get ready before the next extreme storm.

This Mom’s Trouble Sounded like a Million Trains Coming

Her family’s Central Texas home was considered outside of the danger zone, then back-to-back disasters changed everything.