Hurricane Preparedness lasts all season June - November. Emergency preparedness is year–round; emergencies do not have a season. These 5 critical actions will increase your resiliency to survive a disaster and reduce the effects of any disaster or emergency. Plan ahead, now!
Action 1: Know Your Risks
Top 5 Critical Actions to Be Prepared for a Hurricane, or any other Disaster/Emergency
Action 2: Assure Safe Water and Food Supplies for At Least 3 Days
- Identify risks to you and your family at home, work and school.
- Stay informed. Sign up for alerts and updates from local emergency management agencies.
Action 3: Protect Yourself and Your Family
- You MUST have 1 gallon of safe drinking water per person, per day, including pets. Without water a person will die in just a few days, children and pets sooner.
- Stock non-perishable foods that do not need a lot of water or heat to prepare.
- Remember to replace your safe drinking water stockpile every 6 months.
Action 4: Communicate with Your Family
- For Home: Assemble a home emergency supplies kit.
- For Evacuation: Assemble a 'go-kit'. Include: important documents, health records, home, car, and health insurance policies, and photographs of important personal property on a CD or thumb drive for your emergency kits. Know evacuation routes.
- Plan for elderly and special needs members of your family. Additional planning may be required for people with disabilities and other access or functional needs.
- Stockpile necessary medications and items for anyone in the family who has special needs—medical, developmental, or physical.
Action 5: Engage With Your Community
- You need a Communication Plan (how your family will communicate and survive during an emergency). Check out our Family Disaster Plan!
- Every family member must be included in the planning phase and must know the Communication Plan (include: emergency contact information and numbers, and choose a meet-up place in case you are separated.
- Government officials tell us "Plan to be on your own for 72 hours". You and your neighbors may not have access to emergency services immediately after a disaster.
- Know your neighbors before an emergency, especially those who may need special assistance. Volunteer with Community Emergency Response Teams, Medical Reserve Corps, & Red Cross.
- Volunteer with CERT teams or Red Cross or your local Emergency Management Office.
- PLAN AHEAD!
Preparing for Hurricane Season: Guidance from Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of NCDP
To be prepared, first be sure you have a plan for how you would communicate and coordinate with family and friends if power is out for prolonged period. Where will people gather? Who's taking care of sick, elderly or infirm relatives friends, neighbors? Have a couple of out of town phone numbers of friends or relatives who can coordinate information - sometimes out of area calls will work, even if local calls don't.
Consider the following items to stock up on and tips:
- Food (storable at room temp) and water (recommended at 1 gallon/day/person) for at least 3 days supply. That said, a power outage could go for considerably longer.
- Fill bathtub with clean water
- Fill baggies with water and stuff into every nook and cranny in the freezer. Serves as extra water and keep freezer cold if power goes out.
- Single-line phone that doesn't require electrical plug in.
- Flashlights and/or lantern - with lots of extra batteries.
- Battery operated radio also extra batteries. Also can get crank operated radio, though these tend to be a pain.
- Cell phone, be sure to keep it charged. And get a back-up cell phone battery at Radio Shack, Best Buy, etc - and charge that fully, too.
- Have a car charger for phone.
- Keep gas tank in car filled.
- Park in safe place - but be careful about garage that uses elevator to put car on different floor. If power is out - no access to car!
- At least one full week of any medication you must have.
- Pet food (as needed).
- Toys, games, as needed.
- Live in a house or have a terrace? Consider taking all loose objects inside or really secured...
Look through this and decide what you might want/need:
- Dry cereal
- Peanut butter
- Canned fruits
- Canned vegetables
- Canned juice
- Ready-to-eat canned meats
- Ready-to-eat soups (not concentrated)
- Quick energy snacks, graham crackers
- First aid kit (create one for your home and one for each car)
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pairs)
- Tongue blades (2)
- Moistened towelettes
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- 2" sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4" sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 2" sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3" sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Triangular bandages (3)
- Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
Tools and supplies
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
- Create one for your home and one for each car.
- Paper, pencil
- Medicine dropper
- Needles, thread
- Signal flare
- Assorted nails, wood screws
- Plastic storage containers
- Cash or traveler's checks, change
- Tape, duct and plumber's tape or strap iron
- Patch kit and can of seal-in-air for tires
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic sheeting
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Pliers, screwdriver, hammer
- Heavy cotton or hemp rope
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Map of the area (for locating shelters)
Clothing and bedding
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Feminine supplies
- Toilet paper, towelettes, paper towels
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Household chlorine bleach
- Personal hygiene items
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Hat and gloves
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- One complete change of clothing and footwear per person
- Rain gear
- Sturdy shoes or work boots
- Thermal underwear
- Powdered milk
Important family documents
- Leash, harness or carrier
- Records of vaccinations
- Non-tippable food and water containers
Family medical needs
- Important telephone numbers
- Record of bank account numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Inventory of valuable household goods
- Copy of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Record of credit card account numbers and companies
- Copy of passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Prescription drugs
- Denture needs
- Extra eye glasses
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Heart and high blood pressure medication
NCDP Planning Tools for Your Family
The National Center for Disaster Preparedness has created an online learning tool for you and your family that briefly explains the NCDP model of preparedness. Click on the link to hear more about supplies, planning and communication steps to keep you and your loved ones safe in an emergency. Access the Top 5 Steps to Preparedness Model - ENGLISH
Access the Top 5 Steps to Preparedness Model - SPANISH
The National Center for Disaster Preparedness has developed a tool called 'The Preparedness Wizard' to enable you and your family to be fully prepared, based on your specific needs. Create a customized plan for you and your family.
Access the Preparedness Wizard.
The National Center for Disaster Preparedness has developed a free online certificate course 'Personal Preparedness: Planning for the Public Health Worker', tailoring personal emergency preparedness to the public health workforce. This course is available in both ENGLISH and SPANISH.
Personal Preparedness: Planning for the Public Health Worker - ENGLISH
Personal Preparedness: Planning for the Public Health Worker - SPANISH
Ready.gov. This includes communication plans and family emergency plans in English and en Español.
FEMA’s hurricane-specific information
National Hurricane Center
Comprehensive planning for seniors and elderly and caretakers
We ask that you send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.