Following are some tips in preparing for a hurricane as offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Ready.gov and the Humane Society .
Make sure there is way to contact family either through cell phones or email, and have a radio or internet source on hand for emergency updates.
Be equipped to tend to any current or unexpected medical conditions and place any important documents in a waterproof container to help keep them dry and easily accessible. Small items like matches, batteries, flashlights, a multi-purpose tool, and a whistle are also recommended.
Food essentials and storage
Have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water. Remember special dietary needs and avoid high sodium food that causes thirst.
The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies by Ready.gov: ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener; protein or fruit bars; dry cereal or granola; peanut butter; dried fruit; canned juices; non-perishable pasteurized milk; high energy foods; and food for infants.
Ready.gov also has advice for food storage.
Without electricity or a cold source, food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees.
— Keep food in covered containers.
— Keep cooking and eating utensils clean.
— Discard any food that has come into contact with contaminated flood water.
— Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more.
— Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
— Use ready-to-feed formula. If you must mix infant formula use bottled water, or boiled as a last resort.
— Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.
— Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.
— Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.
Alternative cooking sources can be used in times of emergency including candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace. Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. Refrigerated or frozen foods should be kept at 40 degrees or below for proper food storage. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check temperature.
Renters should talk with your landlord or property manager about steps to take together to protect the home and property.
The best way to reduce the risk of damage to a structure from hurricane winds is to reinforce or strengthen the building, including doors, windows, walls and roofs.
Bring loose, lightweight objects (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans, and bicycles) inside; anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., gas grills and propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on buildings. Stock water to flush toilets if necessary.
Pets should be included in emergency plans. The Humane Society of the United States has tips on disaster readiness for pets.
Build a separate emergency kit for pets that include food and water for five days, medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container, pet waste disposal and a first-aid kit.
Make sure and keep digital records and/or pictures to identify your pet after a disaster in case you become separated. Put multiple contact phone numbers on the pet’s tag.
Create a list of places that accept pets if an emergency happens. Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).
Also check with local animal shelters. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. Keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.