Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major damage because of storm surge, wind damage, and flooding. They can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.
Prepare for Hurricanes
Know your Hurricane Risk
Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Find out how rain, wind, water could happen where you live so you can start preparing now. Be sure to consider how COVID-19 may affect your plans. Keep in mind that your best protection from the effects of a hurricane may differ from your best protection from diseases, such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Make an Emergency Plan
Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Discuss the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect your hurricane planning. Don’t forget a plan for the office, kids’ daycare, and anywhere you frequent. COVID-19
Know your Evacuation Zone
You may have to evacuate quickly due to a hurricane. Learn your evacuation routes, practice with household, pets, and identify where you will stay.
- Follow the instructions from local emergency managers, who work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies and partners. They will provide the latest recommendations based on the threat to your community and appropriate safety measures.
- Due to limited space as a result of COVID-19, public evacuation shelters may not be the safest choice for you and your family. If you don’t live in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter in place in your home, if it is safe to do so. If you cannot shelter at home, make plans to shelter with friends and family, where you will be safer and more comfortable.
- Note that your regular shelter may not be open this year. Check with local authorities for the latest information about public shelters.
- If you must evacuate to a public shelter, try to bring items that can help protect you and others in the shelter from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old and people who have trouble breathing should not wear masks.
- Review the CDC’s guidelines for “Going to a Public Disaster Shelter During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Those with Disabilities
If you or anyone in your household is an individual with a disability identify if you may need additional help during an emergency.
Prepare your Business
Make sure your business has a continuity plan to continue operating when disaster strikes.
Recognize Warnings and Alerts
Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alertsfrom the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Sign up for community alerts in your area and be aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)- which requires no-sign up.
Review Important Documents
Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents like ID are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password protected digital space.
Strengthen your Home
Declutter drains and gutters, bring in outside furniture, consider hurricane shutters.
Get Tech Ready
Keep your cell phone charged when you know a hurricane is in the forecast and purchase backup charging devices to power electronics.
Help your Neighborhood
Have enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, masks, pet supplies in your go bag or car trunk. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. COVID-19
- Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
- Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases and slowly building up supplies in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips. This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently. In addition, consider avoiding WIC-approved products so that those who rely on these products can access them.
Returning Home After a Hurricane
- Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing, use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris, and maintain a physical distance of at least six feet while working with someone else. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled, even if they do not have an allergy to mold. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
- Continue taking steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as washing your hands often and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
- Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Engage virtually with your community through video and phone calls. Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed. Take care of your body and talk to someone if you are feeling upset. Many people may already feel fear and anxiety about the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The threat of a hurricane can add additional stress. Follow CDC guidance for managing stress during a traumatic event and managing stress during COVID-19.
- Ready Campaign Public Service Announcements - COVID-19
- Storm Surge Public Service Announcements
- FEMA Accessible:Hurricane Safety Messages
- Important Things to Know Before a Disaster
- When the Waves Swell – Hurricane Animated