Learn about emergency plans for your and your spouse's workplace, and your children's school or day care center.
Learn your community's evacuation routes. Plan several escape routes that lead well inland.
Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. The government will not reimburse you for hurricane damage to your household goods in military quarters.
Ensure your vehicles are in good working order. Keep a full tank of gas – power outages and evacuation conditions can make refueling impossible.
Have a battery operated radio to monitor broadcasts during an emergency situation. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
Prepare your important papers, keepsake items, and personal items ahead of time.
- Make sure you have dated copies of all important personal, financial, and insurance records.
- If possible, make electronic copies and store them on a disk to be placed in your emergency kit.
- Place important records in a waterproof/fireproof container to be taken with you in case of an emergency.
- Maintain a written and photographic inventory of your possessions, including model and serial numbers, so you can estimate the value of your property for insurance or tax purposes if it is damaged or destroyed in a disaster.
- If you’re videotaping, audibly describe the item, when you bought it, and how much it cost.
- Send copies of vital records to an out-of-town friend or relative, as well as to anyone named in a document, such as a trustee or a beneficiary.
Keep a store of non-perishable emergency supplies along with your Disaster Supply Kit. Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best.
Shelf-life of Foods for Storage - Here are some general guidelines for rotating common emergency foods.
Use within six months:
- Powdered milk (boxed)
- Dried fruit (in metal container)
- Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)
Use within one year:
- Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
- Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables
- Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
- Peanut butter
- Hard candy and canned nuts
The following items may be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):
- Vegetable oils
- Dried corn
- Baking powder
- Instant coffee, tea and cocoa
- Non-carbonated soft drinks
- White rice
- Bouillon products
- Dry pasta
- Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)
Store plenty of water, a total of at least one gallon per person, per day. You should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.
- A normal active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene.
- If supplies run low, never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
- Store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums. Seal water containers tightly, label them and store in a cool, dark place. Change the water every six months.
Remove or repair any potential hazard in the home that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire in a disaster.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
- Fasten shelves securely.
- Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
- Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
- Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
Consider preparations for specific emergencies:
- Make sure all tall, heavy furniture (e.g., bookcases, dressers) is bolted to wall studs.
- Install stronger latches on your cabinets.
- Check smoke alarms monthly and change batteries annually.
- Make sure that your fuse box/electric panel is located above average flood level for your area.
- Try to elevate appliances (e.g., furnace, water heater, washer and dryer) above average flood level for your area.
- Install hurricane shutters.
- If you do not have hurricane shutters, have enough precut plywood and tape to cover your windows and doors.
- If you live in mobile housing, secure it to a foundation using chains or strong cables.
- Create a 30-foot safety zone around your home by removing or limiting vegetation.
- Remove all debris in and around your property.
- Use fire-resistant siding on your home.
- Use safety glass for windows and doors if possible.