Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Before the Storm
Cut dead trees and limbs that could fall on your home.
Learn the difference between a watch and a warning.
- A hurricane watch indicates that hurricane conditions are possible in your area within 48 hours.
A hurricane warning indicates that hurricane
conditions are expected in your area within 36
If you live in a flood-prone area, identify where to go if ordered to
evacuate and the safest route to get there. If there is a
flood, you may only have minutes to get to safety. Choose several
places – a friend’s home in another town, a motel or a shelter.
Remember, public shelters and many motels don’t allow pets in their
If your home or business is in a flood-prone area, make sure you
have a current flood insurance policy (not typically part of
a standard insurance policy). A 30-day waiting period is generally
required to purchase flood insurance, so take time now to visit
your insurance agent to learn more.
- Take pictures of your property before the storm to help validate your claim and remember to take your policies with you if you need to evacuate.
When a Hurricane is Approaching
To help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes
out, fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of
space inside each one (remember, water expands as it freezes).
Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled
or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the
power goes out.
Fill your bathtub with water to use for toilet flushing in
case water is unavailable following a storm.
Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture and other items that could
- Fill your car’s gas tank. Gas stations will be in short supply in a power outage.
After the Storm
Prepare to be without power, telephone or any outside services for
a week or more.
Watch out for downed power lines, weakened structures, rodents and
snakes, and avoid standing water.
Avoid drinking tap water unless officials say it is safe to do so.
Eat only foods you are absolutely sure are safe.
Operate generators outdoors only in a well-ventilated, dry area,
away from air intakes to the home. Never use a generator indoors or
in attached garages. Poor ventilation can result in carbon monoxide
poisoning or death.
- Avoid using candles as a light source. Deadly fires can result.
- Hurricane Safety Checklist (American Red Cross)
- Hurricane Preparedness (FEMA)
- Hurricane Preparedness (Virginia Emergency Management)
- National Hurricane Center
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Tropical Cyclones: A Preparedness Guide is a joint project of NOAA/National Weather Service, FEMA and American Red Cross.