Each spring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases its prediction for the upcoming hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 through November 30. Keep in mind that predicting hurricanes and other severe storms is far from an exact science, so your plan to be safe must begin – as always – with awareness of your surroundings and a basic understanding that you are responsible for your own safety.

Hurricane Prep

In addition to simply being aware it’s hurricane season, there are steps you can take to prepare for severe storms. The first is knowing the difference between a severe weather watch and warning. Click here to read a previous PlanToBeSafe.org article on this very important topic.

As you listen to the radio, watch TV and visit websites for updates on watches and warnings, you should also secure your home. This means closing storm shutters and bringing indoors any items that are kept outside before the storm sweeps them away. Turn off propane tanks, and turn off utilities if authorities instruct you to do so. It’s also a good idea to set the thermostat of your refrigerator to the coldest setting and then keep its door closed. That way, if your home loses power, the foods inside the fridge will stay fresh longer.

Of course, if authorities mandate an evacuation, do so. But even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to leave before a hurricane strikes if you live in a mobile home or temporary structure. For those living in a high-rise apartment building, know that winds are stronger at high elevations. Seek appropriate shelter instead of staying in your high-rise apartment. Persons living on a floodplain, inland waterway or near a stream or river should also be prepared to evacuate because hurricanes often bring with them flooding rains.

Riding Out The Storm

The tips for riding out a hurricane are similar to those for staying safe during tornadoes: seek shelter in a small interior room (closet, etc.) or hallway on the lowest level away from windows and glass doors; close and secure all doors, curtains and blinds; lie on the floor under a sturdy object such as a table. Finally, if there’s a lull in the hurricane (i.e. eye of the storm), remain in your safe room because winds will likely pick up again.

Lastly, if you live in a possible hurricane region, you should gather the supplies you and your family will likely need for the two or three days immediately following a hurricane. Click here for tips on building your own 72-hour survival kit.

Stay safe this hurricane season!