Helpful Hints for Hurricane Season

As hurricane season approaches, coastal communities in the U.S. are stepping up their preparations. “Residents should follow these three steps to prepare for any type of disaster,” Jen Sawyer, Carteret County Emergency Services’ Emergency Management Coordinator told the Carolina Coast Online. “Make a plan, build a kit and stay informed. The key to being prepared for a disaster is to have a plan in place before an emergency arises. Build an emergency supply kit that includes enough supplies for each family member for three days. Before, during and after a disaster, it’s critical that you listen for the most up-to-date information from emergency officials.” 

As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a series of tips for those who live in hurricane-prone areas.

Determine your risk: Know what wind and water hazards you should prepare for in your area (even if you don’t live on the coast.) “Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland,” says NOAA.

Develop an evacuation plan: Using the NOAA site, residents can determine whether they live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone “If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination,” says NOAA. Also be sure to account for pets and plan ahead.

Secure an insurance check-up: Ask about your coverage to ensure it covers flooding (not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance) or use the National Flood Insurance Program at, says NOAA.

Assemble disaster supplies: Make sure you have non-perishable supplies (food, water and medicine) for each person in the house for a week. “You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm, but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath,” says NOAA. “Electricity and water could be out for at least that long.” Also include money, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and a portable, crank or solar powered USB charger, advises NOAA.

Strengthen your home: If you stay in your house, make sure it’s in good repair, up to local hurricane building code specifications and consider retrofitting. Use proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors, especially on the vulnerable garage door, says NOAA.

Identify trusted sources of information for a hurricane event: Use NOAA's National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center for hurricane forecasts and the issuance of hurricane watches and warnings, or local NOAA National Weather Service forecast office provides information regarding the expected impacts from the storm for your area, says the agency. Emergency managers will make the decisions regarding evacuations, and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) will make disaster safety recommendations, broadcast by media outlets.

Complete a written hurricane plan. “The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you’ll be under duress and will make the wrong decisions,” says NOAA. Get supplies early and be prepared. “It will mean the difference between you being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor,” says NOAA.