HURRICANE WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the Watch, usually within 48 hours.
HURRICANE WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the Warning, usually within 24 hours.
Prepare a personal evacuation plan. Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places - a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter. Keep telephone numbers for those places handy as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged. Listen to for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately!
Prepare for high winds. Install hurricane shutters or precut 3/4" marine plywood for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly. Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
Find a large storage container for the kit. Choose as many containers as you need to fit all of the supplies.
Collect canned food for the kit. Include soups, peanut butter, beans, crackers, vegetables and other food that does not spoil without refrigeration. Add enough food to sustain your entire family for at least two weeks. Remember to pack a manual can opener.
Purchase bottled water and place in the kit. Have enough to supply your family for two weeks. Each person needs 2 liters of water every day. Prepare to have extra water for hygiene and for washing dishes.
Place repair supplies into the hurricane survival kit. Gather together sheets of plastic, tools, nails, duct tape and paint.
Make a first aid kit. Include adhesive bandages, bug repellent, burn cream, aspirin, pain relievers, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and two weeks worth of any required prescription medications.
Buy plenty of candles and flashlights. Each family member requires their own flashlight. Include dry matches, a lighter and extra batteries.
Place a portable self-generating radio in the survival kit. This provides you updated information during the hurricane. If you don't get a radio that can be hand-cranked or can run on solar power, buy at least seven sets of batteries for the kit. This should keep the radio and flashlights running for two weeks.
Make a small bag with toiletries for the family. Include games, cards, books and toys.
Find a large ice chest. Place any food from the refrigerator or freezer into the chest. If you have access to ice, dump ice over the food to keep it as cool as possible.
Prepare for an evacuation. Every hurricane survival kit needs a fire or lock box. Keep important documentation and computer back-up files in the protected box. Have rain slickers available for the family to wear during the evacuation. Talk with the family about what to do in case of an emergency. Have an escape route and a rallying point.
Tell the family where the survival kits are located in the house. Make it someone's personal responsibility to grab the kit if your family has to evacuate.
Keep listening for instructions. If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so. Inspect your home for damage. Use flashlights in the dark; avoid using candles in case of gas leaks.