When a hurricane threatens the Keys, you'll have to make the decision whether to evacuate or ride out the storm in safety at home. If local authorities recommend evacuation, you should leave. Their advice is based on knowledge of the strength of the storm and its potential for death and destruction.
Use the following lists to keep you on track before and during a storm threat.
Supplies to get before a hurricane threatens:
- Waterproof containers for important documents
- Batteries for radios and flashlights
- Flashlights and lanterns
- Propane and lantern fuel
- Containers for water and gasoline
- Ropes and straps
- Tarps and plastic sheeting
- A small camp stove for cooking
- Nails, bolts and hand tools for storm preparations
- Plywood for covering windows
- First-aid kit
- Portable ice chest
- Determine where to move your boat in an emergency
- Trim back dead wood from trees
- Check for loose rain gutters and down spouts
- If shutters do not protect windows, stock boards to cover glass
When a hurricane watch is issued:
- Check often for official bulletins on radio, TV, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio.
- Fill up your car with gas.
- Get money from the bank.
- Check mobile home tie-downs.
- Moor small craft or move them to safe shelter.
- Stock up on canned provisions.
- Check supplies of special medicines and drugs.
- Check the batteries in radios and flashlights.
- Secure lawn furniture and other loose material outdoors.
- Tape, board or shutter windows to prevent shattering.
- Wedge sliding-glass doors to prevent them from lifting from the tracks.
When a hurricane warning is issued:
- Stay turned to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins.
- Leave mobile homes.
- Leave areas that might be affected by storm tide or stream flooding.
- Leave early, in daylight if possible.
- Shut off water and electricity at main stations.
- Take small valuables and papers, but travel light.
- Leave food and water for pets (shelters will not take them).
- Board up garage and porch doors.
- Move valuables to upper floors.
- Bring in the pets.
- Fill containers (such as a bathtub) with several days' supply of drinking water.
- Turn the refrigerator to the coldest setting and don't open the door unless necessary.
- Use the phone only for emergencies.
- Stay indoors on the downwind side of house away from windows.
- Be aware of the eye of the hurricane.
This article appeared in the Hurricane 2008 special section.