Hurricane Preparation Tips - Consumer Justice Foundation

Hurricane Preparation Tips

Written by Faith Anderson on October 29, 2012
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Types of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings

First and foremost, it’s important to know the difference between a hurricane watch, a hurricane warning, a tropical storm warning and a tropical storm watch:

A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions – namely sustained winds above 73 mph – are expected somewhere within a designated area, and residents of that area should finish preparation to protect people and property. According to the National Hurricane Center, “Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.”

A hurricane watch, on the other hand, means hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds, which reach 39 to 73 miles per hour.

A tropical storm warning means tropical-storm-force winds are expected within 36 hours somewhere in the designated area.

A tropical storm watch means such conditions are possible within 48 hours.

Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

  • Bring outside items in if they are in danger of being picked up by the wind
  • Use hurricane shutters or board up windows with 5/8 inch plywood
  • Download a hurricane app on your smartphone that can notify people where you are and if you’re safe or in need of help
  • Reinforce the garage door
  • Clear gutters of debris
  • Fill the bathtub with water
  • Fill the gas tank in at least one car
  • Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case you lose power
  • Find out where the closest shelter is
  • Evacuate if ordered and stick to marked evacuation routes if possible
  • Store important documents, such as birth certificates, deeds, passports and Social Security cards in a watertight container

List of Supplies to Have on Hand During a Hurricane

  • Can opener
  • Flashlights
  • Three-day supply of water – one gallon per person, per day
  • Three days worth of food – canned meat, canned vegetables, canned or dried fruits, peanut butter, jelly, protein bars, unsalted crackers, trail mix, cookies, dry cereal
  • Extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Battery-powered radio
  • First-aid kit with latex gloves, antibiotic ointment, sterile dressings, eye wash, a thermometer, aspirin, anti-diarrhea tablets, scissors, tweezers and petroleum jelly
  • Seven-day supply of necessary medications
  • Vitamins
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Pliers and screwdriver
  • Contact information for the family
  • Duct tape
  • Extra cash
  • A sleeping bag for each person
  • Rain gear
  • Ladder
  • Household bleach

Red Cross Tips for After Storm Arrives

  • Listen to local news for storm updates
  • Drive only if necessary, avoiding flooded areas
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding after storm ends
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines
  • Inspect your home for damage and take pictures of any damage
  • Use flashlights in the dark, rather than candles
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you’re sure it’s not contaminated
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage
  • Watch animals closely and keep them under your control
Posted Under: United States
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