How to Prepare for a Hurricane and What to Do as It Approaches

As a hurricane approaches your region, think about your household supplies.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends switching your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and moving fridge items to the freezer so they will stay cold longer if the power goes out. Even in a power failure, a tightly packed freezer can stay cold for 48 hours. If you can’t fit everything into the freezer, add containers of ice to the fridge.

Keep thermometers in the fridge and freezer so you can check the temperature when you return. Anything that has remained at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is safe to eat. Move pantry items and a supply of bottled water to high, secure shelves so they will be safe from floodwaters.

Next, take stock of household hazards.

Look for any potentially dangerous substances, like bleach, ammonia and drain cleaners. Check in the garage. Make sure all lids are tightly closed, and move these items to high shelves, as far from potential flooding as possible. Chemicals that mix into floodwaters can be hazardous to your health or cause fires and explosions.

Move all electronics, small appliances, portable heating systems and other items with wires to upper levels and high shelves — as far away from water as possible. If you have a generator, keep it away from moisture. (Never use it inside or plug it into a wall outlet.)

Last, consider the exterior of your home.

Trim and safely dispose of tree branches, which can fall during hurricane winds or become projectiles if they are left on the ground. Secure rain gutters and downspouts, and clear clogged areas that could stop water from draining from your property. Move bikes, trash cans, outdoor furniture, grills, tanks and building materials to a secure spot, either inside or tied down outside, as these can fly in high winds. Board up your windows to prevent leaks and broken glass, and, where necessary, secure doors with storm shutters.