Hurricane Preparedness




*The following is a copy of the United Way of Tampa Bay Disaster Plan: Hurricane Preparedness/Personal Plan from the Tampa Tribune's hurricane guide.

United Way of Tampa Bay Disaster Plan: Hurricane Preparedness/Personal Plan

Be prepared to live for at least three (3) days with no assistance from outside sources.

Pre-storm Planning

1. Decide if you are going to buy shutters (have them installed or do it yourself?) or plywood to cover windows. If you choose plywood, precut and mark the location of each plywood sheet.

Plywood must be anchored on the outside of the window. Determine if garage door needs reinforcement. The northeast quadrant of a hurricane is the strongest; therefore, the southwest side of your home will be the area you really need to protect.

2. Videotape the contents of your home, garage and landscape for insurance purposes. Store in our safe deposit box at your bank or in the emergency box you are going to prepare.

3. Gather important documents such as deeds, titles, stock certificates, wills, birth certificates, military and adoption records, credit card and bank account numbers, insurance policies and anything else that would be difficult to replace. Store in a large, waterproof envelope, ready to place in your emergency box.

4. If you live in an evacuation zone or in a mobile home decide where you are going and determine how you will get there (avoid the interstate). If you are going to go to the home of relatives or friends discuss your plans with them and determine what you need to bring.

5. Check with other relatives in the area for information about their evacuation/preparation plans.

This will be very important if you are not in an evacuation zone and your relatives are! Your home may become their refuge. If that is the case, you will need to have more supplies, etc.

Only those in evacuation zones or in mobile homes should go to a shelter. The safest place to be is your own secured home.

6. Determine what you will do with your pets, especially if you are evacuating. Pets are not allowed in some shelters.

7. Buy plastic storage boxes with handles and secure lids (available at K-Mart, etc.) to serve as your emergency boxes and fill with the suggested supply list. Review the hurricane preparation guide from the newspaper or from the internet before you go on your shopping trip. Add any items you think are necessary to provide for your family.

8. Save and clean a variety of two-liter bottles (not milk jugs). Begin to stockpile enough water to provide one gallon a day for each family member and enough to last at least a week. Once a storm is approaching, fill remainder of bottles.

9. Store a week's supply of canned or packaged food that won't spoil. Do the same for your pets.

10. If you are staying in your home, determine where is your safest spot - an inside walled area with NO windows. An inside bathroom, underneath stairs or a hallway are examples of inside walled areas. 

Storm Approaching

_____ Bring in everything not attached to house - plants, wind chimes, bird feeder, patio furniture, etc.

_____ Fill clean 2 liter bottles with water and place in the freezer.

_____ Make and store ice.

_____ Stock up on supplies: batteries - radios, flashlights, charcoal and fluid or gas for grill, water, canned goods (see grocery list)

_____ Get lots of cash - ATMs will not work without electricity.

_____ Get medications refilled - have a 30-day supply.

_____ Charge all cell phone batteries.

_____ Fill car with gas, check oil, tires, etc.

_____ Gather additional radios and flashlights, verify battery needs.

_____ Put games/toys/cards for children in the emergency box.

Storm is Going to Hit

_____ Board windows with shutters or pre-cut plywood.

_____ Get 2 extra outfits of clothing for every person (including shoes, underwear), place in a plastic bag in your safe area.

_____ Fill large, clean trash can(s) with water and store in garage.

_____ Gather pillows, small mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, lawn chairs in your secure area. Small mattresses can be used

 to protect your family from debris if the roof goes.

_____ Put your emergency box in the secure area.

_____ Clean bathtub thoroughly; clean again with plain Clorox. Seal bathtub drain with silicone caulking to hold the water.

 Fill the tub with water and add some plain Clorox. It may be handy to have thick plywood cut to fit over the tub so you

 could use that area to sit on or for storage of supplies.

_____ Turn freezer and refrigerator to coldest setting. Fill every area in freezer with 2- liter ice bottles made earlier or pack with

 ice in Ziploc bags.

_____ Unplug TV, VCR, sound system, computer, etc. - any valuable electronic pieces.

_____ Gather lanterns and extra oil - do not have lit during high winds.

_____ Put picture albums or special memorabilia in plastic bags.

_____ Turn off sprinkler system.

_____ Gather water and food and take to the protected area or store in an inside closet that should be safe, i.e. linen closet.

_____ If you have a gun(s) unload and store with ammunition inside a closet.

_____ Detach propane tank from gas grill and put in a secure place inside garage.

_____ Boat owners: If you have a boat on a trailer, either tie it down or move it inside garage if possible. If moored, follow

 procedure for securing boat in the newspaper hurricane guide or from the internet.

_____ Pool owners: Cover the pool pump filter and super-chlorinate the pool.

_____ Turn off the gas and electricity to your house. 

Emergency Box

Suggested Contents

* Ziplock(s) with important papers - house & car insurance policies, copies of social security cards, birth certificates, passports, wills, etc

* Flashlights (one for each family member) with the batteries stored outside the flashlight (to avoid corrosion)

* Spare batteries for radio, flashlights, etc. as well as things like hearing aids

* Cheap camera and film - to take pictures of the damage for insurance company

* Basic tools - hammer, screwdriver, pair of pliers or a wrench, nails

* First aid kit

* Water treatment pills (available at camping supply stores)

* Small bottle of Clorox - plain

* Lots of plastic bags - large ones for trash, small/medium ones for toilet

* Personal hygiene/comfort needs - toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, comb and brushes, sunscreen

* Mosquito netting, mosquito repellent

* Can opener - not electric

* Designated radio and batteries (stored outside the radio)

* Medium size cooking pot and skillet - can cook on grill.

* Few cooking implements - large spoon, tongs, one sharp knife

* Charcoal and wooden matches (in sealed plastic bag)

* Paper cups and plates

* Plastic eating utensils

* Paper towels, toilet paper, pre-moist towelettes

* Candles and matches in Ziploc bag

* Plastic sheeting (visquene)

* Air horn - makes a loud blast that can be heard for great distances use if you're trapped inside your house.

* Instant flat-tire sealer - roads may be littered with glass and debris after a storm.

* Pet food and medication

* Oven mitts

* A wind-up clock

* Duct tape - that perennial quick fix

* Spray paint - can paint your house number and names of insurance carrier on the side of your home to attract the attention of

insurance adjusters. 

Grocery List

Think: What will my family members eat?

What can I buy that is ready to eat or can be heated on the grill?

What can I buy that will not require refrigeration after opening?

Juices in individual containers or small cans

Dried milk


Canned meats

Canned fruit

Canned vegetables

Peanut butter


Granola bars

Raisins, snacks

Applesauce - individual containers

Pudding - individual containers




Instant coffee or tea bags



Crackers (kind with peanut butter/cheese) and cookies

Do you have enough?


Charcoal fluid



Plastic bags


Clorox (plain)

Gas for grill


Items for infant/toddlers


Baby food



After the Storm

If you evacuated:

Once the storm passes and emergency workers have cleared the roads of trees, fallen power lines and completed rescue operations,

you will be allowed back to your home. Be careful driving if there are still flooded roads. You may be asked for identification to be

allowed back into your neighborhood. This security is to prevent sightseeing and looting.

* Check for obvious damage and potentially dangerous situations such as unstable walls or ceiling materials and broken glass.

* If you smell gas, open windows and leave immediately.

* If you have power, check for signs of electrical damage such as sparks or frayed wires. Another sign is the smell of something


* Take photographs of any damage, then make temporary repairs if needed such as patching holes in the roof or walls and covering

broken windows.

* Keep all receipts for temporary repairs.

* If there is water in your house, try to get as much out as possible, then make sure the home is well ventilated.

* Clean wet clothing and furniture as soon as possible.

* Dry metal objects like drapery rods and appliances, then coat them with a light layer of oil to prevent rust.

* Have any electrical appliance exposed to water serviced before using it.

* Do an inventory of any damaged or missing possessions. Don't throw away any items you believe are a total loss before your

insurance adjuster sees them.




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