At the beginning of each hurricane season, you need to review, practice and update your family plan. Everyone should have a role in the plan, including children.
If you are in an evacuation zone, decide if your family can stay with friends or relatives outside evacuation zones who live in a hurricane-safe house. Another option is to evacuate to an inland hotel.
- Assign responsibility for food, water and must-have supplies.
- Assign an emergency meeting place in case your family gets separated.
LEAVING THE AREA
Plan on leaving as early as possible, but consider evacuating tens of miles not hundreds.
- Flying out: Be prepared for airport closings, full or cancelled flights.
- Driving out: Leave early and have an alternative plan. Tropical storms and hurricanes are notorious for changing direction. If you drive out, you may find yourself headed directly into a threatened area, or you could get trapped in traffic.
LAST RESORT EVACUATION
A Red Cross shelter should be your last resort. Do not go until you hear from officials that the specific shelter has opened.
IF YOU DO NOT EVACUATE
- Retrofit your home prior to hurricane season. Install shutters or check shutters to ensure that they are operable.
- Identify a safe room in your house. A safe room has no windows and will protect your family if your house should break apart during a storm. Examples are a large interior closet, hallway, bathroom or stairwell.
- Designate an out-of-town emergency contact.
- Consider using the Red Cross website: www.safeandwell.org.
SPECIAL MEDICAL NEEDS
If you or someone you know requires noncritical medical support, pre-register with your county office of emergency management for a Special Care shelter. Bring supplies for three days including food, water, medicine, nebulizer and oxygen equipment. If you have a breathing problem, the American Lung Association suggests getting a doctor’s recommendation for your special medical needs during a severe weather emergency. Keep extra medical items on hand in case of a severe weather emergency such as:
- Have a backup battery for ventilators.
- Have a backup oxygen cylinder (48-hour supply).
- Ask your medical supply vendor about services they provide in the event of a hurricane and/or power failure.