Plan ahead to protect your family
Climate change is making hurricanes stronger. Warmer ocean waters are driving hurricanes that have more powerful winds, dump more rain, and cause more damage, and scientists predict that the intensity of these storms will continue to increase in the coming decades.1 Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1-November 30,2 and it’s never too early or late to start preparing your family and community to stay safe.
How to help your family prepare for hurricanes
For both families and communities, the most effective preparation for hurricanes happens before the threat of a storm. Here are some steps you can take to keep your loved ones safe from hurricanes:
Understand your community’s level of risk.
People living in coastal areas are at highest risk from hurricanes, but impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, as well. The Hurricane Risk Map by Currently can help you assess your community’s risk of a direct hurricane landfall.3
Understand your personal risk.
If you live in a low-lying area that may be vulnerable to storm surge or live in a home that may be especially vulnerable to hurricane damage (such as a mobile home), it’s particularly important to plan for hurricanes.
Pay attention to weather alerts.
Create an evacuation plan.
It’s important to know where you would go and how you would get there if a strong storm hit. Find out if your community is in an evacuation zone at HurricaneStrong.org/Safety.
Prepare disaster supplies ahead of time.
Make sure you have at least three days’ worth of supplies for your family on hand, including food for people and pets, water, and medicines. When a storm is approaching, be sure to keep your car’s gas tank full in case you need to evacuate. Your emergency supplies should also include batteries, extra cash, flashlights, and a radio. Learn more about assembling an emergency kit here: www.ready.gov/kit.
Check on your insurance.
Call your insurance company and make sure you have enough coverage in place to repair or replace your belongings in case of a damaging storm. If you live in a flood-prone area, make sure you have flood insurance — most home and renters’ insurance policies don’t cover flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program can be a resource: www.floodsmart.gov.
Prepare your home.
Making sure your home is as sturdy as possible can reduce the impact of strong winds and rain. Take steps to ensure that your home is up to local hurricane building specifications, including gathering supplies to board up windows and doors if you are in a particularly vulnerable area. If you are a renter, work with your landlord to prepare your building for hurricane impacts.
Be a good neighbor.
Help your neighbors prepare proactively for hurricanes, especially those who may be elderly or mobility impaired. Make sure your neighbors have an evacuation plan if needed, and plan to check in on them after storms.
Write your plan down.
Writing out a clear hurricane preparedness plan can offer peace of mind. Your plan should include an emergency contact list, including at least one person outside of the local area; an evacuation plan, if you live in an evacuation zone; a plan for communicating with loved ones during an emergency; a checklist of emergency supplies; and information about important documents, like flood insurance coverage and personal identification. Learn more about creating a family emergency plan here: www.ready.gov/plan.
How to help your community prepare for hurricanes
Personal preparedness is valuable, but community resilience is even more vital in saving lives, minimizing damage, and promoting recovery after hurricanes. Here are ways to help ensure that your community is as hurricane-resilient as possible:
Attend local meetings discussing hurricane resilience in your community, and advocate for equitable resilience policies.
A people-centered approach to disaster resilience includes the participation of local communities in resilience planning and implementation efforts, especially the frontline communities that are most vulnerable to hurricanes and other climate impacts. Solid hurricane resilience policies should ensure that communities are prepared for storms with affordable, hurricane-resilient infrastructure; strong public shelters; robust, effective early warning systems; plans for safe evacuation of all community members during strong storms; and the resources to help communities recover after storms have passed.6, 7
Support nature-based solutions for hurricane resilience.
Nature-based solutions help make ecosystems more resilient to hurricanes and often cost less than complex technological solutions. These solutions frequently involve protecting and restoring coastal wetlands, which can help absorb floodwaters and ease the impact of strong waves.8, 9
Nurture relationships in your community.
Community-based networks of support, such as mutual aid networks, are critical to disaster resilience. Community relationships can help with the timely spread of important information during emergencies, as well as supplementing emergency relief efforts from governments and charities.10, 11
Full list of sources.
Released: September 2022