Now Is the Time to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 5:18pm

It’s early May and COVID-19 dominates our thoughts and the news headlines. Hurricane season is the furthest thing from our minds. It’s not though. It’s starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Now is the time to prepare to ensure your family is safe in the event a hurricane affects your home. May 3-9 is Hurricane Preparedness Week, and it is the time to prepare for the upcoming season. Follow the tips below to be ready when a storm hits. 

Emergency Kit

Get an emergency kit prepared for you and your household. The kit should contain enough food, water and supplies to sustain each person and pet in the household for three to seven days. 
What to put in your Emergency Preparedness Kit:

  • Water - 1 gallon per person per day.
  • Food – non-perishable 
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries or hand crank radio
  • Cell phone charger
  • Phone numbers of loved ones (in case you lose your cell phone)
  • USB power bank – charged
  • First aid kit and first aid book
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial hand wipes
  • Face mask(s)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off water
  • Blanket or sleeping bag – 1 per person
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses and contact lens supplies
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies, shampoo
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Important documents – insurance policies, copy of driver’s license, Social Security card, bank account records
  • Cash
  • Books, games or cards

Unique needs:

  • Items for a baby – diapers, bottles, formula, wipes, clothes, pacifiers, blankets
  • Items for hearing aids – batteries, container to keep hearing aid dry, card for best ways for to communicate with you


  • Leash and collar
  • Food and water bowls
  • Pet food for three to seven days
  • Photos (in case pet becomes lost)
  • Pet carrier
  • Muzzle
  • Medication
  • Copy of immunization records (needed for shelters that allow pets)

Know Your Evacuation Plan

Plan for how to proceed when a hurricane hits your area. There are many questions that need to be answered beforehand. Knowing how to react before the storm will help you quickly and safely get through a hurricane. These questions should be answered and practiced as part of your evacuation plan. 

Coastal counties should also be on the lookout for a new initiative around the beginning of hurricane season. Know Your Zone is a tiered evacuation system that highlights areas most vulnerable to storm surge from hurricanes and tropical storms, and other hazards. The Know Your Zone lookup tool is a new color-coded interactive map you can use to determine the evacuation zone where you live, work, or are visiting based upon street address. 

No matter where you live, make sure your plan covers these questions:

  • Are you located in a hurricane evacuation zone or would your home possibly flood during a hurricane?
  • If you need to evacuate, know where to go and the route?
    • Can you stay with a friend or family member? If so, make those arrangements ahead of time.
  • Are you responsible for others (seniors, children or pets)?
  • Look out for your neighbors, especially those who may have difficulties when evacuating, such as the disabled or seniors.

Check Up on Insurance

Now is a good time to check with your insurance agent on your coverage. Much of the damage caused by hurricanes is caused by flooding, and flooding is not covered by standard home policies. You should take photos of valuables in your home that include their identification numbers. Make copies of your home and auto policies to include in your emergency kit. If there is damage to your home, you will want to have that information handy. Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program.

Get It All on Paper

You have prepared your kit, learned your evacuation route, checked on your insurance policies now it’s time to put it all together in one hurricane emergency plan. The plan should outline all movements and communication for your family. Make sure you include:

  • Each person’s responsibility when the storm hits.
  • A list of people to contact who will know if you are safe or need assistance during the storm.
  • Your evacuation route.
  • How to prepare your home (board up windows, secure loose items, etc.), if needed.

There’s a lot to do before a hurricane reaches your home. You can find out more by visiting, and reduce much of the headaches and stress by running through the checklist this week – Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

Dabney Weems
Brian Haines