Hurricane Preparedness lasts all season from June – November. Emergency preparedness is year-round; emergencies do not have a season. These 5 critical actions will increase your resiliency to survive a disaster and reduce the effects of any disaster or emergency. Plan ahead, now!

Top 5 Critical Actions to be Prepared for a Hurricane, or any other Disaster Emergency


Action 1: Know Your Risks

  • Identify risks to you and your family at home, work and school.
  • Stay informed. Sign up for alerts and updates from local emergency management agencies.

Action 2: Assure Safe Water and Food Supplies for At Least 3 Days

  • You MUST have 1 gallon of safe drinking water per person, per day, including pets. Without water, a person will die in just a few days, children, and pets sooner.
  • Stock non-perishable foods that do not need a lot of water or heat to prepare.
  • Remember to replace your safe drinking water stockpile every 6 months.

Action 3: Protect Yourself and Your Family

  • For HomeAssemble a home emergency supplies kit.
  • For Evacuation, Assemble a ‘go-kit.’ Include Important documents, health records, home and car insurance policies, and photographs of important personal property on a CD or thumb drive for your emergency kits. Know evacuation routes.
  • Plan for elderly and special needs members of your family. Additional planning may be required for people with disabilities and other access or functional needs.
  • Stockpile necessary medications and items for anyone in the family with special needs, whether medical, developmental, or physical.

Action 4: Communicate with Your Family

  • You need a Communication Plan (how your family will communicate and survive during an emergency). Check out our Family Disaster Plan!
  • Every family member must be included in the planning phase and must know the Communication Plan (include emergency contact information and numbers, and choose a meet-up place in case you are separated.

Action 5: Engage With Your Community

  • Government officials tell us “Plan to be on your own for 72 hours”. You and your neighbors may not have access to emergency services immediately after a disaster.
  • Know your neighbors before an emergency, especially those needing special assistance—volunteer with Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and the Red Cross.
  • Volunteer with CERT teams, the Red Cross, or your local Emergency Management Office.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Guidance from Dr. Irwin Redlener:

To be prepared, first, be sure you have a plan for communicating and coordinating with family and friends if the power is out for a prolonged period. Where will people gather? Who’s taking care of sick, elderly, or infirm relatives, friends, and neighbors? Have a couple of out-of-town phone numbers of friends or relatives who can coordinate information—sometimes, out-of-area calls will work, even if local calls don’t.

Consider the following items to stock up on and tips:

  1. Food (storable at room temp) and water (recommended at 1 gallon/day/person) for at least 3 days supply. That said, a power outage could go for considerably longer.
  2. Fill a bathtub with clean water
  3. Fill baggies with water and stuff into every nook and cranny in the freezer. Serves as extra water and keep freezer cold if power goes out.
  4. A single-line phone that doesn’t require an electrical plug-in.
  5. Flashlights and/or lanterns – with lots of extra batteries.
  6. Batterie-operated radios require extra batteries. You can also get crank-operated radios, though these tend to be a pain.
  7. Cell phone, be sure to keep it charged.
  8. Have a car charger for the phone.
  9. Keep the gas tank filled in a car.
  10. Park in a safe place – but be careful about a garage that uses the elevator to put the car on a different floor. If the power is out – there is no access to the car!
  11. At least one whole week of any medication you must have.
  12. Pet food (as needed).
  13. Toys, games, as needed.
  14. Live in a house or have a terrace? Consider taking all loose objects inside or secure them.

Food ideas

  • Dry cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned juice
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats
  • Ready-to-eat soups (not concentrated)
  • Quick energy snacks, graham crackers

Look through this and decide what you might want/need:

  • First aid kit (create one for your home and one for each car)
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Sunscreen
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • 2″ sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4″ sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 2″ sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3″ sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes

Non-prescription drugs

  • Laxative
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and supplies

  • Create one for your home and one for each car.
  • Whistle
  • Crowbar
  • Paper, pencil
  • Medicine dropper
  • Needles, thread
  • Signal flare
  • Assorted nails, wood screws
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change
  • Tape, duct, and plumber’s tape or strap iron
  • Patch kit and a can of seal-in-air for tires
  • Shut-off wrench to turn off household gas and water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Pliers, screwdriver, hammer
  • Heavy cotton or hemp rope
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife
  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)


  • Disinfectant
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Toilet paper, towelettes, paper towels
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid

Clothing and Bedding

  • Sunglasses
  • Hat and gloves
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • One complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Thermal underwear

For baby

  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Diapers
  • Medication

For pets

  • Food
  • Leash, harness or carrier
  • Records of vaccinations
  • Non-tippable food and water containers

Important family documents

  • Important telephone numbers
  • Record of bank account numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Copy of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies
  • Copy of passports, social security cards, immunization records

Family medical needs

  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication


  • Games and books

NCDP Planning Tools and Resources for You and Your Family