Things to know before the storm

If you can remain in your home (you are outside an evacuation area and do not live in manufactured housing), do so.

Take these precautions:

* Protect your windows with shutters or plywood.
* Prepare clean containers for drinking water. Plan on 3 gallons per person per day for drinking and washing. Fill your bathtub and use the water for washing and flushing.
* Plan to take care of yourself and your family without outside assistance for a minimum of seven days.
* Don’t plan to ride out the storm in a room with sliding glass doors. That can be the most dangerous place in the house. Instead, stay in an interior room such as a bathroom or walk-in closet. Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
* If you have double-entry doors, protect them as you would a window with shutters or plywood, or nail 2 x 4s across them on the inside on storm day to prevent them from blowing in.
* Wait for official word that the danger is over. Don’t be fooled when the storm’s eye passes over.
* If the power goes out, turn off the stove and appliances. That will avoid a fire hazard when the power comes back on.
* Know where to shut off power and water.
* Don’t use candles or other open flames inside the house.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

* Listen to the radio or TV for information.
* Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
* Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
* Turn off propane tanks.
* Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
* Moor your boat if time permits.
* Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

* If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
* If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure -- such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
* If you live in a high-rise building. Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
* If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.

If you feel you are in danger:

* If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
* Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
* Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
* Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
* Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
* Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.