It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week!  Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st and ends November 30th, and as we’ve seen over the past few years, hurricanes are a very real danger even in New England.  It’s important for all families to have a plan of action should a hurricane hit, so we’ve listed some important safety tips that everyone should know.

  • Know the difference between a “Hurricane Watch” and a “Hurricane Warning”.  A hurricane watch will be issued when a potential threat is less than 48 hours away, at this point you’ll want to review your emergency procedures.  A hurricane warning is issued when the threat is less than 36 hours away and that’s when you will want to begin your preparations.
  • It is very important to know where to go in case of an evacuation in your area.  Know the evacuation routes you will need to take if an evacuation order is issued.  Make sure you are listening to the news or a radio for the most updated information, as storms progress evacuation routes may close.
  • If you do need to evacuate, make sure you have a plan for your whole family, including pets! Pets are members of the family and if it’s not safe for you to stay in your home, it’s not safe for them either.
  • Know how to turn off utilities such as gas and water if you have to.
  • Fill up sinks and bath tubs with water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning.
  • Makes sure you have prepared emergency kits for your car and home, they should include enough bottled food and water to last your entire family 3 days, a flashlight, radio, batteries, important documents, first aid kit, road maps, and a full tank of gas.
  • If you live in a mobile home or do not live on higher-ground, find the nearest shelter to go to.
  • If a storm is coming, board up your windows with plywood if you don’t have permanent storm shutters.  Close and brace any storm doors you may have.  Take your outdoor decorations, furniture, trash cans, and anything else that’s not tied down inside.
  • Once the storm begins, take refuge on the bottom floor of your home, and stay away from windows and doors.
  •   If there is a lull in the storm that may be the eye, it will pick up again so make sure you have a radio to listen to for the most updated information.  Wait until you hear from officials that the storm has ended before going outside.
  • Stay alert even after the storm has ended, there may be subsequent flooding that can still cause damage.
  • If you must drive, avoid low-lying areas, flooded roads and bridges.  You’ll also want to look out for downed electrical wires, weakened walls, bridges, and sidewalks.

Hurricanes are extremely dangerous and can result in severe damage to property, or even death if you’re not cautious.  Even if you are not located on the coast, a hurricane can still affect you and cause severe damage, so keep these tips in mind and stay safe this hurricane season!

Photo By: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center