Do you have a family hurricane plan?

At the beginning of each hurricane season, you need to review, practice and update your family plan. Everyone should have a role in the plan, including children. 

Developing Your Plan of Evacuation

Check with your county Office of Emergency Management to see if you need to evacuate. If you do, decide if your family can stay with friends or relatives outside evacuation zones who live in a hurricane-safe house. Assign responsibility for food, water and must-have supplies. Another option is to evacuate to an inland hotel.

Leaving the Area

Plan on leaving as early as possible.

Flying out: Be prepared for airport closings, full or cancelled flights.

Driving out: Tropical storms and hurricanes are notorious for changing direction. If you drive out, you may find yourself headed directly into a threatened area, or you could get trapped in traffic. Leave early and have an alternative evacuation plan.

Last Resort Evacuation

A Red Cross shelter should be your last resort. Do not go until you hear from officials that the specific shelter has opened. Shelters will be crowded and uncomfortable. Be sure to bring:

* Pillows and blankets.
* Food, water, prescription medicines.
* Small toys, games, and books for young children.

Note: pets, alcohol, and firearms are not allowed.

If You Do Not Evacuate

* Retrofit your home prior to hurricane season.
* Install shutters or check shutters to ensure that they are operable
* Use the list of must-have supplies.
* Identify a safe room in your house. A safe room has no windows and will protect your family if your house should break apart during a storm. Examples are a large interior closet, hallway, bathroom, or stairwell.
* Designate an out-of-town emergency contact.

Special Medical Needs

If you or someone you know requires non-critical medical support, pre-register with your county Office of Emergency Management for a Special Care shelter. Bring supplies for three days including food, water, medicine, nebulizer, and oxygen equipment. If you have a breathing problem, the American Lung Association suggests getting a doctor's recommendations for your special medical needs during a severe weather emergency. Keep extra medical items on hand in case of a severe weather emergency such as:

* A backup battery for ventilators.
* A backup oxygen cylinder (48-hour supply).
* Ask your medical supply vendor about any services they provide in the event of a hurricane and/or power failure.

In General

* Check with your employer for any special job responsibilities when a storm threatens. Make sure they understand that you will require time to prepare your home and family.
* Assign an emergency meeting place in case your family gets separated.