WeatherHurricane Center


Disaster Planning Essentials

Posted at 1:13 PM, Aug 03, 2018

Family Disaster Plan


  • Waterproof all of your valuables. Use sealed plastic bags.
  • Take pictures or better, video tape the inside and outside of your house. Store in a safe dry place or take with you if you evacuate.
  • Know your home’s vulnerability to a storm surge, flooding, and wind.
  • Locate a safe room in your home for a hurricane hazard.
  • Determine escape (evacuation) routes from your home and places to meet inland away from the storm.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by Preinsurance.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Hurricane Kit. (see below)
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors. Monitor storm progress by watching KATC-TV 3, at, and using social media: Facebook (KATC-TV 3) and Twitter (@KATCTV3).
  • Take First Aid, CPR, and/or disaster preparedness classes.


Hurricane Kit – List of Survival Materials

If you are planning to evacuate, be sure to take at least the items marked with an asterisk (*).


  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day) for 14 days*
  • Canned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
  • Manual can opener
  • Bread in moisture-proof packaging
  • Cookies, candy, dried fruit
  • Canned soups & milk
  • Powdered or single serve drinks
  • Cereal bars
  • Package condiments
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Instant coffee and tea


  • Flashlight (1 per person)*
  • Portable battery powered lanterns
  • Glass enclosed candles (not for use in shelters)
  • Battery powered radio or TV
  • Battery operated alarm clock
  • Extra batteries, including hearing aids*
  • Ice chest and ice
  • First Aid Kit, including aspirin, antibiotic cream, and antacids*
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun Screen (45 SPF recommended)
  • Waterproof matches/butane lighter (not for use in shelters)
  • Money*
  • Plain bleach or water purification tablets*
  • Disposable plates, glasses, and utensils*
  • Maps of the area with landmarks on it*


  • Sterno
  • portable camp stove or grill
  • disposable eating utensils, plates and cups
  • napkins and paper towels
  • aluminum foil
  • oven mitts

Personal Supplies:*

  • prescriptions (1 month supply)
  • photo copies of prescriptions
  • toilet paper
  • entertainment: books, magazines, card games, etc.
  • soap and detergent
  • toiletries
  • bedding: pillows, sleeping bags
  • changes of clothing
  • rain ponchos and work gloves
  • extra glasses or contact lenses (and don’t forget the solutions needed for the contact lenses)

Baby Needs:*

  • Disposable diapers*
  • formula, food and medication
  • clothing and blankets


  • insurance papers: home/renters, automobile
  • proof of occupancy of residence (utility bills)
  • photo identification
  • photo copies of prescriptions (medications and eyeglasses/contacts)
  • medical history information
  • waterproof container for document storage
  • back-up disks of your home computer files
  • camera and film to document damage to home/belongings

Pet supplies: (remember – shelters do NOT allow pets – plan to board them with a veterinarian or local humane society)

  • dry and canned food for two weeks
  • water (1/2 gallon per day per pet)
  • litter box supplies
  • traveling cage

Other necessities:

  • tools: hammer, wrenches, screw drivers, nails, saw
  • trash bags (lots of them)
  • cleaning supplies
  • plastic drop cloth
  • mosquito netting
  • ABC rated fire extinguisher
  • masking or duct tape
  • outdoor-rated extension cords
  • spray paint to identify your home if necessary
  • one of your home phones (many people lost theirs during Hurricane Andrew, even though their phone service still worked)

Preparing For Your Pet’s Safety

Your pet needs to be part of your hurricane family plan of action. If evacuating, keep in mind that most shelters, motels, and hotels will not allow pets. Here are some important items to help you prepare:

  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and have proof they are up to date.
  • Be sure to have a current photo of your pet.
  • Each pet should have a carrier that is large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around.
  • Make sure your pet has the proper ID collar.
  • Pack enough food and bottled water for the duration of your evacuation as you should not allow your pet to eat food or drink water from an outside source which may be contaminated.
  • Finally, be sure to pack any medications your pet may need along with a leash, collar, muzzle, paper towels, and trash bags.

Keeping Food Safe

Steps to follow to prepare for a possible weather emergency:

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
  • Make sure the freezer is at or below 0° F and the refrigerator is at or below 40° F.
  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers after the power is out.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately – this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Group food together in the freezer – this helps the food stay cold longer.

Steps to follow after the weather emergency:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.)
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below.
  • Never taste a food to determine its safety!
  • Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
  • If the power has been out for several days, then check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40° F or below, the food is safe.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, then check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.
  • Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
  • Discard all food that came in contact with flood waters, including canned goods. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
  • Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

Information about USDA’s food safety efforts can be accessed on the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Web site at Consumers can ask safe food handling questions by logging on to FSIS’ online automated response system called ‘Ask Karen’ on the FSIS website. E-mail inquiries can be directed to The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Food safety recordings can be heard 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone.

Evacuation Tips

Your needs and those of your family should be the primary factors considered when determining the timing of your evacuation. Do not delay your departure in anticipation of the opening of any hurricane or contraflow lanes.

Everyone should prepare an evacuation plan long before a storm arrives.

The following steps are recommended before the storm:

  • Assemble your disaster supplies kit with items such as flashlights, cell phones, extra batteries, battery chargers, portable radio, first aid kit, emergency water and food, medical supplies and equipment, manual can opener, highway map, important documents such as insurance and medical information etc.
  • Secure your home against disaster to help reduce damages. Cover windows with shielding materials. Secure or put up any loose objects from around your home.
  • Know your area’s evacuation plan/routes before you leave home.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas as early as possible. Take only the vehicle necessary to transport you and your family to safety. Extra vehicles create congestion.
  • Bring extra cash in the event that banks are closed and ATM machines are inoperable.
  • Notify family and friends (especially those out of the area) of your plan and your destination.
  • Develop an emergency plan in case family member are separated from one another, e.g., instruct all evacuating family members on the name and contact information of your designated out-of-area friend and family.
  • Ensure children know how and when to call 911.
  • Evacuate, traveling safely to you destination.
  • Expect travel times to destinations to be significantly longer than normal.

While on the road:


  • If you get into a minor crash, get out of the flow of traffic. To keep all travel lanes and shoulders clear, however, all disabled vehicles on the shoulder will be relocated to the next exit ramp where further assistance may be available.

After the storm:

  • Listen to local officials for the all-clear signal before returning home. Check for information at, and using social media: Facebook (KATC-TV 3) and Twitter (@KATCTV3).
  • Remember, do not try to drive through standing water. Just a few inches of water can float an automobile.


Hurricane Center

Hurricane Safety Guide

Disaster Planning Essentials

Maps for Tracking and Planning

Facts and Hurricane History

Emergency Contacts and Education Resources