Reading time - 4 minutes, 48 seconds
If you live in an area that might experience hurricanes, it's important that you begin your preparations well in advance of any potential storm. Hurricane season started on May 15 in the north Pacific and June 1 in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. It ends on November 30.
Know the Difference Between a Hurricane "Watch" and "Warning"
During hurricane season, listen for National Weather Service alerts on TV or radio or check for them online.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.
For more information about hurricane watches and warnings, check out the National Weather Service's Hurricane Center. LMH recommends that all of our residents who live near coastlines follow these important guidelines and preparedness tips.
It’s important to have several ways to receive warnings and alerts. In addition to RedFlag alerts that come directly from LMH, you might want to download the FEMA app and explore receiving real-time alerts from the National Weather Service. You can sign up for community alerts for your area here.
Make a Hurricane Preparedness Plan
Before the hurricane season begins, make sure you and your family are prepared. Make sure everyone in your household knows your hurricane evacuation plan. If your hurricane preparedness plans include the office, kids’ daycare, or anywhere you frequent, make sure everyone is aware.
Know your evacuation routes in the event that you need to leave your home. Practice these routes with your household and include your pets in the process. Identify where you will meet if members of your household are separated and determine where you will stay if you’re evacuated.
Program emergency phone numbers into your cell phone. Make sure to include installation phone numbers and your District Office's phone number. Prepare an emergency supply kit. During and after a hurricane, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and healthy. Remember that a hurricane could cut off your power and water supply. You also may not be able to drive because of damage to your car. Roads may be flooded or blocked.
Get Your Emergency Supply Kit Ready
You can purchase emergency supply kits, or you can create your own. Ready.gov encourages families to have enough food, water, and essential supplies on hand for 72 hours in case you need to evacuate. If you decide to make your own kit, most of these items are probably already inside your home. Make sure you store them in a portable, watertight container to keep them safe. The basics for an Emergency Supply Kit include:
- Water (one gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Extra batteries
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- First aid kit and/or trauma kit
- Cash and change (in a waterproof container)
- Manual can opener
- Flares or whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks for contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (if you are stuck at home, work, or elsewhere)
- Local maps (on paper, in case your phone doesn't work)
- Cell phone with battery-powered or solar charger
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Prescription medications and non-prescription medications
- Eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula and supplies (diapers, wipes, etc.)
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Important family documents in a waterproof container (copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records)
If you have to evacuate, refer to directives from local installation command teams. Locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home. If shelter locations in your area have not been identified, learn how to find them in the event of a storm.
Pet owners: Pre-identify shelters, a pet-friendly hotel, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.
Get Your Car Ready
- Make sure your car is ready before the storm hits.
- Fill your car's gas tank.
- Move cars and trucks into your garage or under some type of cover.
- Always keep an emergency kit in your car.
- Visit Ready.gov for information on how to prepare your car and what to include in your kit.
- If you don't own a car, consider making plans with friends or family or call authorities to get a ride if you need to evacuate.
Get Your Family and Pets Ready
- Go over your emergency plan with your family.
- Keep checking for updates about the storm. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check online.
- Put pets in a safe place.
Get Your Home Ready
- Clear your yard. Make sure there's nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.
- Cover up windows and doors. Follow directions from your local LMH District Office on how to safely board up windows and doors.
- Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home, switch your power off.
- Fill clean water containers with drinking water. You'll want to do this in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
- Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector's battery to prevent CO poisoning.
Be Ready to Evacuate or Stay at Home
Always listen to authorities regarding whether you should evacuate or stay at home. If a hurricane is coming, you may hear an order from authorities to evacuate. Never ignore an order to evacuate. Alternatively, you may hear an order to stay at home. If driving conditions are dangerous, staying at home might be safer than leaving.
If you need to evacuate:
- Grab your emergency supply kit and only take what you need with you (cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification like a passport or license, and cash).
- Unplug your appliances. If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
- Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend even if there's traffic. Other routes might be blocked or flooded. Never drive through flooded areas—cars and other vehicles can be swept away or may stall in just 6 inches of moving water.
If you need to stay home:
- Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
- Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
- Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don't go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over.
- Stay away from windows.
- Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor's house.
This hurricane season, go into it feeling more prepared. There are many resources available in case of emergency, and Liberty Military Housing is here to help. Have more questions about hurricane preparedness? Reach out to your local district office or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay connected.