Hurricane Checklist: Are You Ready?

Hurricanes are strong storms that have the potential to cause life and property threatening hazards. Hurricanes can be accompanied by high winds, flooding, storm surge, and tornados. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.

Know the Difference:

Hurricane Watch — Hurricane conditions are possible within the specific watch area. Hurricane watches are typically issued about 48 hours in advance of the expected storm force winds. Review your hurricane preparedness plans, keep informed, and be ready to act if a hurricane warning is issued. Watch updates from a reliable weather source and listen to what your local authorities tell you.

Hurricane Warning — Hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations immediately. Evacuate as soon as the evacuation order is given. Do not wait until the last minute, because it could be too late!

Hurricane Checklist:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Sleep bags, blankets
  • Non-perishable canned foods
  • Formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, and medications for infant
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • Week-long supply of prescription medicines (if needed)
  • Plastic bottles of drinking water
  • Paper plates, cups, and towels
  • Fill car(s) with full tank of gas
  • Plans for pet safety
  • Bring pets inside
  • Unplug all small devices and turn off propane tank
  • Store all lawn furniture, trash cans, toys, gardening tools inside to prevent them from getting blown away
  • Protect windows and doors with permanent storm shutters or plywood
  • Roadside emergency kit
  • Cellphones and chargers
  • Cash
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Soap
  • Wet wipes
  • Feminine supplies
  • Secure sensitive documents in waterproof container
  • Family and emergency contact information

Survive During and Be Safe After


  • If directed to evacuate, do so immediately. Do NOT wait.
  • Avoid going outside.
  • If needing shelter during high winds, go to a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
  • Stay indoors and away from windows or glass doors.
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do NOT climb into a closed attic space. You could become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Listen for emergency information and instuctions.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn around. Do not drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can known you down, and one foot of moving water has the ability to sweep our vehicle away.
  • Stay off and away fromm bridges over fast-moving water.


  • Let loved ones know you are safe.
  • Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
  • If you have evacuated the area, wait for public officials to say it is safe before returning.
  • Do not enter a building until it has been inspected.
  • Avoid floodwaters.
  • Do not wade in floodwaters.
  • Do not use or touch electrical equipment.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Let Your Family and Friend Know You’re Safe

You can bookmark yourself safe on Facebook for loved ones to see.

If your community or area has experienced a hurricane, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website available through to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you do not have internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.