How To Prepare for a Hurricane

Don't wait until they're calling hurricane watches and warnings; make sure your bases are covered with this checklist of 10 essential hurricane preparation steps. You'll be glad you did.

By Jessica Drake

Hurricane season, which officially runs from June through November, comes with destructive weather conditions, from drenching rain and high winds to flooding. Don't wait until the last minute: Use this checklist to be sure you and your loved ones are prepared for that threatening season.

1. Keep essentials in a safe spot so they're readily available. Emergency kit necessities may include candles, matches and lighters, flashlights with fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and a multipurpose tool. (We like this Dewalt Multi-tool, $25; homedepot.com.)

2. Stock up on a few cases of bottled water in the event that sanitized drinking water is unavailable. If you can, scrub and fill bathtubs and sinks to use as an extra reserve of clean water.

3. Make sure you're aware of the types of water damage covered by flood insurance, and confirm that your policy is up to date. (Visit floodsmart.gov for more info.)

4. Keep an emergency radio charged and set to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alerts to stay updated on threats. Download the Surfline Surf Report and the Red Cross Hurricane Apps to track ocean patterns, hurricane maps, and other storm data. The Red Cross App also includes flashlight and alert functions that may be helpful in case of an emergency.

5. Secure all outdoor furniture, and bring floats, bicycles, children's toys, and grills inside if you suspect a hurricane warning will be issued.

6. Unplug all small appliances and any gas tanks to prevent possible fires from lightning strikes.

7. Turn refrigerator and freezer dials to the coldest settings and avoid opening the doors to help preserve perishable food items in case of a power outage.

8. Store important documents and family pictures in waterproof containers.

9. Be sure family members are aware of evacuation routes. Always evacuate if mandated, but beware of flooded roads.

10. Make sure you have a plan for your pets. If evacuating with a pet, visit petswelcome.com for a list of animal-friendly places to stay in your area. If your evacuation plan involves a hotel stay, check on the hotel’s pet policy and accommodations first.

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