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Staying safe in a storm

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(CNN) -- When bad weather strikes, a few precautions can save valuable time -- and maybe even your life. Check out 10 safety tips when evacuating from strong storms, according to the National Hurricane Center and the American Red Cross.

Tip 1: Put aside money
Have some cash, and carry all your credit cards. Also be sure to get a copy of your homeowner's insurance policy.

Tip 2: Plan escape route
Have multiple escape routes and know the proper government evacuation route. Make sure you car's fuel tank is filled and your mobile phone is charged. The American Red Cross has developed an evacuation checklist.

Tip 3: Plan escape trip
Identify ahead of time where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places, like a friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter. The Red Cross suggests that every family, not just those in coastal areas, develop a communication plan so family members can keep in touch during an emergency.

Tip 4: Prepare supply kit
Assemble a disaster-supply kit including:

•First-aid kit and any essential medications.
•Canned food and can opener.
•At least three gallons of water per person.
•Clothing, rainwear and bedding
•Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
•Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
The Red Cross created a checklist to help you prepare a disaster-supply kit.

Tip 5: Prepare interiors
If evacuating, unplug all electrical devices. Shut off natural gas if local officials advise it and make sure to have a sufficient supply of batteries for battery-powered equipment.

Tip 6: Prepare exteriors
Secure your home by boarding over windows or putting up hurricane shutters. If you use boards, purchase precut one-half-inch outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and drill holes in the plywood ahead of time, so it can be installed quickly.

Tip 7: Clean up the yard
If a hurricane watch is issued, prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind and cause damage.

Tip 8: Clear dead treesIf you live in a wooded area, make trees more wind-resistant by taking out diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

Tip 9: Avoid danger areas
Move to safe shelters. Low-lying areas and mobile homes should be evacuated.

Tip 10: Stay informed
Keep abreast of information by monitoring weather advisories online and on radio and television. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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