Hurricane Preparedness: Protecting yourself

In areas where hurricanes can strike, it’s a good idea to have a closet or an area set aside for storm preparedness storage. There, you can keep items you’ll need in case disaster strikes suddenly or you need to evacuate.

It’s also important to know the difference between a watch and a warning, and when they are issued for tropical storms and hurricanes.

A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions — sustained winds above 73 mph — are expected somewhere within the warning area, and it is time to finish preparation to protect people and property. “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” — 39 to 73 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.

During the Storm:

• Stay indoors, away from windows, Skylights and glass doors, until the storm has officially passed. Be Careful; it might appear the storm is over, but you may actually be in the eye of the hurricane. It may seem calm, but the weather could deteriorate quickly. The calm may only last 10-20 minutes.

• Watch Storm Team 2 for weather coverage and updates.  If you lose power, listen to our radio partners on a battery-operated radio.

• Do not use candles or kerosene lamps.

• Find a safe-room in your home, usually an interior, windowless reinforced room such as a closet or bathroom on the lower floor.

• Stay in your safe-room even if you hear breaking glass. Do not expose yourself to the hurricane’s winds.

• If your house starts to break apart, cover yourself with a mattress and pillows. If your safe-room has a bathtub, get in the tub under a mattress.

• Use the phone for urgent calls only.  Don’t use the phone if you hear thunder.

• If you are in a very tall building, avoid

the top floors as wind speeds are stronger the higher you go. Go to a safe-room.

• If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.

• If you lose power, turn off major appliances, such as the air conditioner and water heater to educe damage from surge when power is restored.


After the Storm:

Be patient – It may take awhile for emergency crews to reach your neighborhood. Restoring utilities could take several weeks. Use extreme caution. There may be dangerous situations all around you.

• If your house is damaged, do not return until it has been officially inspected.

• Find the fire extinguisher before turning on the power.

• Avoid all downed power lines and water puddles.

• Report downed or sparking power lines, broken gas lines and water mains.

• Always supervise children.

• Avoid piling debris near power poles.  This may hinder repairs.

• Avoid driving because of debris and road blockage.

• Open windows and doors to ventilate your home.

• If flooding has occurred, have an inspection before turning on the breaker.

• Let your out-of-town emergency contact know you are alright.

• Have valid ID. It may be required to re-enter your neighborhood.

• Don’t sightsee, especially at night.


RELATED: News 2 Hurricane Central


You may be eager to remove large trees or other debris after a hurricane hits.

But underground utilities could pose a real danger. More and more utilities are

buried underground and some aren’t buried as deep as you may think. The result can be costly, even deadly. Before you dig, call 811 if you don’t know where underground utilities are located on your property. Or go to for more information.


Food and Water Safety:

• If power goes out, avoid opening refrigerators and freezers to keep items from spoiling and/or thawing.

• Food in a refrigerator is safe if power is out for only a few hours.

• If the temperature inside exceeds 40°F for more than two hours, perishable foods are unsafe to eat. (Get a small thermometer the keep inside your refrigerator.)

• If there are ice crystals on freezer items, the food can safely be refrozen.

• If you’re unsure whether an item has spoiled, throw it away.

• Do not drink tap water until officials have announced it is safe.

• Commercially bottled water is good indefinitely, regardless of expiration date.

• Water you’ve bottled yourself will only be good for about a week at room temperature (two weeks in the refrigerator).


To sterilize water:

1. Boil for at least one minute, OR

2. Add 12 drops of a 2% tincture of iodine per gallon, OR

3. Add 8 drops unscented household bleach (with Hypochlorite as the only active ingredient) per gallon, OR

4. Use water purification tablets.

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