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Hurricane Disaster Kit Preparation Recommendations

UPDATED July 4, 2014

By WeatherBug Meteorologists

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Just as the hurricane season gets underway, now is the time to prepare your family and home for any potential tropical impact.

Prepare a Disaster Kit

Every home should contain a disaster kit, hurricane prone or not. Prepare your disaster kit with the following:

  • Stock up on 3 to 7 days` worth of non-perishable food -- don`t forget the can opener.
  • One gallon of drinking water per person per day for 3-7 days.
  • Have flashlights for every person in the home.
  • Include a battery-powered weather radio for updates on the situation of the disaster.
  • Pillows and blankets.
  • Supply of batteries.
  • Cash (low denomination bills recommended).
  • First Aid Kit.

Prepare Your Home

Every home should be ready for the hurricane season. Make sure your home is secure by following these tips:

  • Make safety improvements to your home.
  • Strengthen areas that wind can enter such as the roof, window shutters, reinforced garage and front doors.
  • Remember to check the building codes. They will reflect the lessons experts have learned from previous seasons.
  • Check with the local experts. They have the expertise for your area.
  • Plywood should be cut and pre-drilled to fit windows and doors.

Prepare Your Family

A family disaster plan is also a great idea to have made up before the season begins. Be sure to discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home`s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.

  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard.
  • Know where your local community shelter is located, in case your home is not safe.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact; so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate. Hotels often do not allow pets and pet-friendly shelters often fill up.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
  • Attend First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.

Prepare Your Pets

After disastrous Hurricane Katrina, over half a million pets were abandoned and lost. This persuaded Congress in 2006 to pass legislation that included pet safety in evacuations, as well as allowing FEMA to grant funds to state and local agencies for animal preparedness projects, including the building of emergency shelters. Here are tips to prepare your pets for evacuation:

  • With a pet on board, it is important to evacuate early.
  • Bring the brand of food the pet regularly eats. Due to stress, the pet may have stomach problems. Having the food they are accustomed too will help minimize this.
  • Pets should be equipped with a collar, tags and microchip tracking technology.
  • All medical papers should be copied and packed in your evacuation kit.
  • A cage and/or carrier of proper size should be clean and ready to go before evacuations are called.
  • Leashes and restraints are required at most shelters. Be sure to have a set packed into your kit.

Prepare For Evacuation

It is very important to know your local evacuation route. Become familiar with it so when an evacuation is ordered, there will not be any confusion.

  • Evacuations are commonly called for places that are prone to flooding and storm surge. Check with local authorities to see if your house is in a flood-prone zone.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Have an extra supply of fuel for your vehicle.
  • Pack all medications. Have a copy of the prescription in case you need a refill or lose you medicine.
  • Being fully prepared allows for a smoother ride through the storm and less damage to the home.
  • If you are not in a flood-prone or low-lying area, evacuation orders are less likely. It is more crucial that you and your property are secured.

Source: National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Story image: WeatherBug user Daniel Arizpe of Katy, Texas, took this picture as he was preparing for the hurricane season. Get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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