Here are some tips from Islamic Relief USA’s Disaster Response Team to help you stay safe in the event of a hurricane.
Know the Difference
- Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued
- Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
- Listen to a NOAAWeather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
- Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members.
- Make plans for your pets to be cared for during crisis event.
- Evacuate if advised by authorities, and be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
- Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website.
What to Include in a Disaster Supply Kit
- Water: At least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days
- Food: at least enough for three to seven days. Have a supply of nonperishable packaged or canned food; juices foods for infants or the elderly; snack foods
- Essential utensils: It is a good idea to have a non-electric can opener and other cooking tools and disposable eating utensils (recycled-paper plates, biodegradable disposable utensils) available and easily accessible. If possible, have a supply of cooking fuel available for your use—be sure to follow safety protocols about storing and using any flammable item, including fuel.
- Bedding: Have blankets, pillows, sleeping bags on hand
- Clothing: Water-resistent clothing and shoes, an ample supply of socks, rugged shoes—and make sure to have extras of everything
- First Aid: Prepare a first-aid kit that includes an assortment of bandages, antibiotic ointments or creams, gauze, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, any prescription medicines and inhalers.
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Radio: Use one that is battery-operated and make sure to know the local channel for NOAAWeather Radio.
- Telephones: Fully-charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
- Money: It is a good idea to have cash (with some small bills), and credit cards on hand; remember, banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods, so plan accordingly.
- Keys: Know where your house and car keys are.
- Entertainment: Books, board games and toys help pass the time, especially for young children.
- Important documents: Keep essential documents—such as identification cards, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security cards—in a waterproof container or watertight-resealable plastic bag.
- Tools: Keep a set with you during the storm.
- Vehicles: Make sure your fuel tank are filled, and your car are in good working order (you may want to consider keeping an emergency aid car kit, which includes first-aid supplies, blankets, flares and more, in your car).
- Pet-care items: Your pets needs care during a storm too—have a supply of pet food, water, carriers or cages, leashes, rain gear, pet toys and pet litters on hand. In addition, make sure that all identification and immunization records and medications are kept close by.
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera: You may need this to take photos of any damage.
- Other special items: Consider any special supplies for the infants, young children or elderly in your home: bottles, baby formula, diapers, glasses, medicines.
Again: If You Are Instructed to Evacuate, Evacuate
- Listen to the directions of the safety officials in your region in ample time.
- Account for increased traffic and difficult driving conditions.
- Expect that air travel may be met with cancellations or delays, and plan accordingly.
Tips for After the Hurricane
- Continue listening to a NOAAWeather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
- Use flashlights in the dark. DO NOT use candles!!
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
It is always good to be prepared—we hope you will never have to use these tips, but, if you are caught in a hurricane, insha’Allah they will prove helpful to you. Stay safe!