The better prepared you are, the better you can deal with a storm and maintain comfort after it passes. To prepare for an approaching hurricane and help you and your family cope in the following days, complete a Family Hurricane Plan.

Family Hurricane Plan

In the plan, you should decide:

  • When the family should evacuate. Regardless of your decision, obey all evacuation orders from local officials.
  • Where you’ll go. Map alternate routes in case a mass evacuation clogs your main evacuation route.
  • What you’ll do with family pets.
  • Where you’ll store boats or recreational vehicles.
  • Which relatives you’ll notify and when.
  • What you’ll do to protect important family papers and keepsakes.
  • Where family members will gather after the hurricane passes if they’re not able to be together before it hits.

You’ll also want to locate all emergency shelters. This will be vital if you decide to leave at the last minute.

Determine which pre-storm duty each family member will handle. For example, will Dad put plywood on the windows while Mom takes the dog to the kennel for boarding? If you are a single parent who might need help getting ready as a storm approaches, it would be a good idea to coordinate your plan with a family member or neighbor.

If you have elderly family members or friends who live alone, keep them in mind when you’re getting your Family Hurricane Plan ready.

Work with your family on the plan

Make sure everyone understands your Family Hurricane Plan once it’s complete. Then, set aside a weekend in May each year for family hurricane planning and preparation. Use the weekend to review the family’s plan and gather storm supplies. Your supplies should be enough to get each family member through about three days without electricity or running water.

To help you get started, here’s a list of what you should include:

  • Canned goods and non-perishable foods that don’t require cooking, such as:
    • Canned meats and fishes
    • Canned soups and puddings
    • Canned fruits and vegetables
    • Canned fruit juices
    • Dried fruit
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Bottled water
    • Baby formula and food
    • Coffee and tea (instant)
  • Prescription medicine — two-week supply
  • Manual can opener
  • Disposable plates, cups and utensils
  • Water purification tablets — halazone
  • Infant care items — disposable diapers, wipes
  • First aid supplies
  • Flashlights or lanterns and extra batteries
  • Ice chest
  • Masking or duct tape
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Non-electric clock
  • Canned heat — sterno
  • Portable outdoor camping stove or grill with fuel supply
  • Fire extinguisher (ABC type)
  • Plastic sheeting for drop cloth
  • Chlorinated bleach
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