Once forecasters issue a hurricane watch, it’s time to start preparations. You should take these early steps regardless of whether you expect to evacuate.
A watch means there is the threat of a hurricane within 36 hours, so you need to begin getting ready. Remember, high winds and rain will arrive hours before the brunt of the storm, making it difficult and dangerous to perform some tasks that need to be done in advance. If the storm continues its approach, a hurricane warning will be issued. This means the hurricane is expected within 24 hours. This is the time to begin battening down the house. There is no assurance you will have the full 24 hours before conditions deteriorate.
Under a hurricane watch you should:
- Make sure your vehicles are filled with gas. If the storm disrupts electric power, gas pumps won’t work.
- Get cash, including a roll of quarters. After a storm, ATMs may not function and businesses may not be able to process credit cards.
- Make sure prescriptions are filled and you have enough medicine to last a week or more.
- Check your survival kit and make any last-minute purchases you might have overlooked.
- Make sure your important documents such as deeds, stock and bond certificates, insurance policies, legal papers and other paperwork are in a safe,waterproof container. Include photographs or videotape of your valuables for possible insurance claims.
- Monitor weather reports by television or radio.
- Begin to bring in or secure small, loose objects outside.
- Make sure cellphones and other rechargeable appliances such as some types of flashlights are fully charged.
- If you have a gas grill, fill the propane tank for cooking after the storm
if the power is lost.
Under a warning, you should:
- Put shutters on windows. You will want to do this as soon as possible because as winds increase it becomes difficult to handle sheets of plywood or metal.
- Move inside anything left in the yard that can be blown around, such as
garbage cans, furniture, bird feeders, potted plants, lumber or lawn ornaments. It’s OK to throw plastic or metal patio furniture in the pool.
- Even small items hurled by 120 mph winds can become deadly projectiles or shatter a window. If you have a wooden picnic table, turn it upside down.
- If you don’t move your gas grill indoors, remove the propane tank.
- Cover the pool pump filter and super-chlorinate the pool.
- If you haven’t filled water containers, do it now while the municipal water or your well still work.
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. Since a full
freezer stays cold longer, you can fill some containers with water. In addition to helping the freezer remain cold if power goes out, the ice can be useful after the storm.
- Continue to monitor the storm’s progress and listen for local warnings from emergency officials.
- If you have a boat on a trailer, tie it down or move it inside.
- Put any vehicles you can in the garage.
- Fill sinks and bathtubs to provide a supply of water for washing and other uses besides cooking and drinking.
- Take your hurricane survival kit with you.
- Take important papers with you, including your driver’s license, special
medical information, insurance policies and property inventories.
- Let friends and relatives know where you are going.
- Make sure your neighbors have a safe ride.
- Lock windows and doors.
- Turn off electricity at the main breaker.
- Store valuables/irreplaceable treasures in your empty appliances – washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven, microwave.
- Pack some dry clothes in plastic bags.
- Put plastic bags over TVs, lamps, computers, etc.
- Keep a set of tools with you during the storm.
- Fill new garbage cans with water to use for flushing, bathing, washing clothes, etc.
- Bring Medical Insurance Card
- Get doctor to give you and extra copy of your prescriptions in case you need to get them refilled while evacuated – you may not be able to find your Doctor if he/she is evacuated as well