Hurricane season affects the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico from June through November, though most severe storms occur between August and October. Being ready prior to any severe storm making landfall, and knowing what to do once a storm hits, is critical. In addition, travelers need to take special precautions. Follow these tips for hurricane safety and preparedness.
Prepare Before the Hurricane
- Create an evacuation plan with your family in the event that a disaster is imminent; learn location of emergency shelters in your area.
- Secure your home: Use storm shutters or plan to board up windows.
- Check your property's exterior: secure lawn furniture, make sure shrubs are trimmed.
- Remove debris from any rain gutters or spouts.
- Make sure your vehicles have plenty of fuel.
- Secure any watercraft on the property.
- Should you not need to evacuate your home for the duration of the hurricane, plan to keep canned food, bottled water, first-aid supplies, battery-operated radios and flashlights on hand.
When the Hurricane Hits
- Listen to the TV and/or radio to track bulletins and updates; follow the directions of authorities if an evacuation is mandated.
- If asked to do so by authorities, turn off utilities including water, electricity and propane tanks.
- Stay indoors at all times, close interior doors, secure exterior doors.
- Stay away from any windows. Find a room without windows, and take shelter there. If that is not possible, go into a closet.
- Before planning any vacation, particularly one during hurricane season, always purchase travel insurance that covers natural disasters, like hurricanes.
- Before leaving deposits with a hotel or purchasing outright a vacation package, find out what their policy is in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Be sure to closely read any sort of policy being offered, as not all situations are reimbursed.
- If a storm is imminent, check in frequently with your airline to see if flights are being canceled, as well as your hotel to learn whether any evacuations are planned.