Now – before a storm is brewing at sea – is the time to plan what to do if a hurricane threatens.
The first step is to check the evacuation zone map for your county and see where your home is.
If you are in one of the evacuation zones, especially an area in the zone vulnerable to a Category 1 or minimal hurricane, chances are you will be asked to leave no matter what size storm approaches.
If you live in a mobile home, you will have to evacuate for any storm.
You also may want to leave your home if you don’t feel it’s safe.
The start of the hurricane season is the time to form an evacuation plan. Involve all your family members in the planning and make sure they know what to do.
Keep these steps in mind when making a hurricane plan:
- Decide where to go. This is the first thing you should do. Emergency officials encourage people to stay with friends, relatives or find a hotel in a safe area. Public shelters are available if you have nowhere to go. Try to stay in your county if possible.
- Plan the route you will take and estimate how long it will take to get there. The longer you wait following an evacuation order, the longer it will take to reach your destination.
- Assemble a supply kit and keep it where family members can find it.
- Plan and make a list of items you will take that aren’t already in your evacuation kit, such as clothing, bedding, medicines, books and games and small hand tools you may pack at the last minute. You may not be able to return home for three to five days.
- If you have pets, make arrangements on who can keep them, either with a kennel, veterinarian or make sure you can bring animals where you intend to go. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Don’t leave pets alone during a storm if at all possible.
- If you don’t already know, locate where to shut off water, gas and electricity for your house. If there is time, you should turn off these utilities before leaving.
- Tell a friend or relative – someone outside the area affected by the storm – where you will be staying. Use this person as a contact in case your family is separated and make sure all family members have the contact’s telephone number.