In preparation for hurricanes, families should come up with an evacuation plan and put together an emergency kit with basic supplies, such as food, first-aid items, flashlights, batteries and personal hygiene products. The American Red Cross recommends preparing a three-day food and water supply. Listening to the radio before and during a hurricane helps families follow evacuation warnings from local authorities and find out where temporary refuge stations are located.
Families should disaster-proof their homes when a hurricane is a day or two away, especially if they live in coastal areas frequently ravaged by storms. Set up a backup generator a safe distance from the house to prepare for power outages. Move outdoor furniture and appliances inside, if possible.
Reduce the risk of damage from wind and driving rain by closing windows throughout the house. Families in major flood zones should consider installing storm shutters or boarding up windows before a big storm. Fill all cars with gas in advance, and secure garage doors to protect any expensive property stored inside.
As the storm approaches, families should unplug small appliances they aren't using, and turn off propane tanks. Turning the refrigerator to the coldest setting will help preserve food if the power goes out.
Once the storm hits, families should take their emergency supplies and assemble in the most wind-safe room in their homes. Battery-powered lanterns and flashlights are safe lighting alternatives to candles.
After the storm, it's important to wear protective clothing for clean up. Clean up should only begin after the home is determined to be free of structural damage and danger from loose power lines.