Hurricane Safety Tips to Protect Your Family & Home
Learn how to keep safe during hurricanes and major storms.
Hurricanes inflict devastation from strong winds, torrential rains and storm surges, which can lead to coastal flooding. Even inland, hundreds of miles from the water, flooding is a problem in low-lying areas near much of the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines. When a hurricane is forecast, play it safe. Riding out a major storm in your home isn’t a good idea. Plan your response before the warnings come:
Be in the Know
Learn about your vulnerability to flooding, wind and storm surge and whether you live in a mandatory evacuation zone. Visit FloodSmart.gov to see updated flood maps.
Plan Your Escape
Map out several evacuation routes away from known flood areas. Your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter is a good source of help.
Keep materials, such as sandbags and plastic sheeting, on hand. Be prepared to board up doors and windows, and secure or remove loose items outdoors.
Make an emergency kit and store it in a safe place. The kit should include:
- A three- to seven-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
- Nonperishable food or cooking tools, a manual can opener and a portable cookstove and fuel
- A change of clothing, seasonal gear and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A first-aid handbook and kit, including prescription medicines
- Tools to turn off utilities, if you live in a hurricane surge zone
- Emergency tools, including a NOAA weather radio with battery backup (these broadcast weather and emergency information from the nearest National Weather Service office), and a portable radio (ideally hand-cranked and/or solar), a flashlight, extra batteries and lightbulbs, a fire extinguisher, and a local map (for offline navigation)
- An extra set of keys, cash and a credit card
- Important documents—stored in a waterproof container—including insurance documents and cards, medical records, bank account numbers and Social Security cards
Monitor radio and local TV stations for evacuation orders. Act without delay.
Shut It Off
If you are in a hurricane surge zone, keep written instructions for how to turn off your utilities in a central location. For safety, shut off gas, water and electricity before you evacuate.
Stay Out of Floodwaters
Just a few inches of moving water can sweep vehicles and people away.