Prepare & Take Action

Gather Information
Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.

Contact your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office for the latest information.

Keep a list of contact information for reference.
  • County law enforcement
  • County public safety fire/rescue
  • Local American Red Cross
  • Local Emergency Management Office
  • Local hospitals
  • Local radio stations
  • Local TV stations
  • Local utilities
  • State, county and city/town government
  • Your property insurance agent
Risk Analysis
Online hazard and vulnerability assessment tools are available to gather information about your risks.

Plan & Take Action
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?

Supplies Kit
The essentials:
  • Battery operated radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Solar powered lighting
You will need:
  • 3 gallons/person, minimum, in a food-grade, plastic container
  • Additional water for sanitation
You will need a minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no refrigeration or preparation and little or no water.
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned juice
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dry cereal
  • Graham crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Quick energy snacks
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats
  • Ready-to-eat soups (not concentrated)
First Aid Kit
Create 1 first aid kit for your home and 1 for each car, including:
  • 2 inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 2 inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3 inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 4 inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Needle
  • Neosporin ointment
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Scissors
  • Sterile adhesive, bandages in assorted sizes
  • Sunscreen
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • Tweezers
Non-Prescription Drugs
Keep the following non-prescription drugs in your emergency kit:
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Laxative
  • Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Tools & Supplies
Create 1 for your home and 1 for each car:
  • Aluminum foil
  • Assorted nails and wood screws
  • Cash, traveler's checks, and change
  • Compass
  • Crowbar
  • Heavy cotton or hemp rope
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Medicine dropper
  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Needles and thread
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Paper and pencil
  • Patch kit and can of seal-in-air for tires
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Pliers, screwdriver, and hammer
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Signal flare
  • Tape, duct and plumber's tape
  • Utility knife
  • Whistle
Include the following sanitation items in your preparation kit:
  • Disinfectant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Plastic garbage bags and ties
  • Soap / liquid detergent
  • Toilet paper, towelettes, and paper towels
Clothing & Bedding
Keep the following clothing and bedding items in your prep kit:
  • 1 complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Sunglasses
For Baby
If you have a baby in the family, keep the following in your prep kit:
  • Bottles
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Medication
  • Powdered milk
For Pets
If you have pets, keep the following in your prep kit:
  • Food
  • Leash, harness or carrier
  • Non-tippable food and water containers
  • Records of vaccinations
Important Family Documents
Keep the following important family documents in your prep kit:
  • Copy of passports, social security cards, and immunization records
  • Copy of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, and stocks and bonds
  • Family records (birth, marriage, and death certificates)
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Record of bank account numbers
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies
Family Medical Needs
Keep the following medical items (if needed) in your prep kit:
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Denture needs
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
Keep some entertainment items such as games and books in your prep kit.

Emergency Plans
  • Develop and document plans for your specific risks.
  • Protect yourself and family with a Family Emergency Plan
  • Be sure to plan for locations away from your home
  • Business owners and site locations should create a workplace plan
  • Make sure your children's schools and daycares have their own emergency plans
  • Pet owners should have plans to care for your animals when you're away
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer information on animal health impacts in evacuation shelters
  • Prepare your boat and be aware of basic marine safety if you are on or near the water
Health & Environment
Follow guidelines to guard your community's health and protect the environment during and after the storm. Review the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) for health considerations before, during and after a storm. Remember to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines regarding food and water during disasters.

Review the evacuation guidelines in your area to allow for enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.

Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered to do so, don't hesitate! Consider your protection options to decide whether to stay or evacuate your home if you are not ordered to evacuate.

When waiting out a storm be careful, the danger may not be over yet.

Be on Alert
Be alert for:
  • Tornadoes are often spawned by hurricanes.
  • The calm "eye" of the storm - it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.
Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home. Remember that recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process.