What to do when a hurricane's coming

By Doug Criss and Christina Maxouris

Published August 27, 2020


This is NOT a drill.

Forecasters say a hurricane is headed your way. Authorities have put out the order to evacuate. You need to get moving.


Here's a checklist to help you get started, with tips from the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Hurricane Center.

As the storm approaches

Stay inside, protect your windows and doors, keep your local news stations on for new information, and download the Red Cross emergency app

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  • Get ID tags for your pets

  • Secure lawn chairs or other outside items

  • Find emergency shelters

  • Fill bottles with drinking water


  • Fill your car's gas tank

  • Unplug small devices and turn off propane tanks

  • Buy a fire extinguisher

  • Have a to-go pack and learn evacuation routes


What to have on hand

A first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, sleeping bags/blankets, cooking and eating utensils and prescription medications, chargers for devices


  • Paper plates, cups and towels

  • Non-perishable/canned foods

  • Jumper cables

  • Maps

  • Roadside emergency kit

  • GPS

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  • Cash

  • Toilet paper

  • Disinfectant

  • Plastic bucket with tight lid

  • Household bleach

  • Feminine supplies

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  • Soap

  • Wet wipes

  • Rain gear

  • Sturdy shoes


What to do after the storm arrives

Mark yourself safe on Facebook or the Safe and Well website. Document property damage before contacting your insurance company.

  • If you evacuated, return only once authorities give the OK

  • Avoid contact with floodwaters, and don't walk or drive on flooded roads or through floodwaters

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  • Look out for downed or unstable trees, poles and power lines

  • Don't drink tap water until authorities say it's OK

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