Tips from the National Hurricane Center.
Family Disaster Plan
- Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
- Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
- Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
- Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
- Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
Disaster Supply Kit
- Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
- Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days: non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking tools / fuel, paper plates / plastic utensils
- Blankets / Pillows, etc.
- Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
- First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
- Special Items - for babies and the elderly
- Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
- Flashlight / Batteries
- Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
- Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
- Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
- Toys, Books and Games
- Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag: insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
- Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
- Vehicle fuel tanks filled
- Pet care items: proper identification / immunization records / medications, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, muzzle and leash
Have a Place to Go
- If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure. If possible, leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay in starting your evacuation will result in significantly longer travel times as traffic congestion worsens.
- Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home, preferably in the same county, or at least minimize the distance over which you must travel in order to reach your intended shelter location. In choosing your destination, keep in mind that the hotels and other sheltering options in most inland metropolitan areas are likely to be filled very quickly in a large, multi-county hurricane evacuation event.
- If you decide to evacuate to another county or region, be prepared to wait in traffic. The large number of people in this state who must evacuate during a hurricane will probably cause massive delays and major congestion along most designated evacuation routes; the larger the storm, the greater the probability of traffic jams and extended travel times.
- If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate. Discuss with your intended host the details of your family evacuation plan well before the beginning of the hurricane season.
- If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave. Most hotel and motels will fill quickly once evacuations begin. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued for your area or county, the less likely you are to find hotel/motel room vacancies, especially along interstate highways and in major metropolitan areas.
- If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no hotels/motels rooms are available, then as a last resort go to a shelter. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets. Bring your disaster supply kit with you to the shelter. Find Pet-Friendly hotels and motels.
- Make sure that you fill up your car with gas, before you leave.
Securing Your Home
Before the Disaster
- Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
- Have a current photograph
- Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
- Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal - carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
- Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet! Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
- If you plan to shelter your pet - work it into your evacuation route planning.
During the Disaster
- Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
- Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm - reassure them and remain calm.
- Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
After the Disaster
- Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
- If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
- After a disaster animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.
Pet Disaster Supply Kit
- Proper identification including immunization records
- Ample supply of food and water
- A carrier or cage
- Muzzle, collar and leash
- Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan.