Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages.
Dorian is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane by Sunday, with 130 mph winds, near the Bahamas.
Be sure to follow updates through your local news media.
If you believe Hurricane Dorian is headed your way and a threat to your safety, be sure to follow the checklist below.
Making an Emergency Plan
You and your loved ones may not be together when a disaster hits. Therefore, it’s extremely important you create an emergency plan and family agreement on how you will contact one another.
You should also create an evacuation route.
How to Prepare For a Hurricane
Also be sure to charge up all technology in case of outages, and so you're able to access updates online as the storm passed through. One way to follow hurricane Florence is by following this website with live updates on the storm's movements.
Start creating your plan by taking the following steps:
- Create contact cards
Be sure to make them for every family member. Keep these cards on your person at all times.
- Choose an emergency contact.
If you are able to memorize a phone number, make sure it’s a family or relative who lives out of town and might be easier to reach in the case of an emergency. Remember if you do find yourself in an emergency situation but you are safe, text or call this contact to reassure them you are safe.
- Ensure everyone can utilize technology.
While some family members may not be highly tech savvy, take the time to ensure everyone knows how to turn on a cell phone, find the text messaging app, type a message, and send it to a contact.
Bring extra chargers, and try to save battery life between communicating with family in case of power outages.
- Know emergency telephone numbers.
Locate your local fire department, police station and hospital and both write it down on your contact cards as well as in in your cell phone address book.
What Supplies Do I Need To Prepare For A Hurricane?
People in vulnerable areas are encouraged to familiarize themselves with personal safety plans and evacuation routes.
Have an emergency supplies kit prepared to include:
- At least three days worth of drinking water (two quarts per person per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Portable battery-operated radio
- Non-electric can opener
- Cash, credit cards and identification (passports or licenses) for everyone in your family.
- First Aid Kit
- Over-the-counter medicine for headaches, stomach aches and fevers
- Enough prescription medication to get through 7-10 days, in case a pharmacy is not available
- Flashlight and batteries
- Blanket for each member of the family
- Dry storage bags
- Fuel up your car's gas tank and buy extra fuel to store in your vehicles
How Should You Prepare Your House For a Hurricane?
It’s also important to prepare your household to minimize damage.
Prepare to protect your home with the following tips:
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Ensure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Cover windows with permanent shutters, plywood panels or other shielding materials.
- Bring in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become a hazard during high winds.
- Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances.
- Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.
- If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
What Should You Do With Your Pets During a Hurricane?
As residents in North and South Charleston prepare for Hurricane Florence, pet owners in the state will need to take extra precautions to help their animals.
Here are some basics to cover to keep your animals safe:
- Bring pets inside
As the storm approaches, bring pets indoors so you can evacuate or shelter inside at a moment's notice. As you evacuate, keep pets either on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Don't leave animals unattended anywhere they can run off.
- Assemble a pet supplies kit.
The evacuations have already been ordered advises creating a kit, stored in a sturdy container, with supplies for your pet including medications, leashes and/or carriers, current photos of your pet, food (including a can opener as needed), potable water and water bowls, toys and beds (if transportable).
You should also have local veterinarian contact information and a list of your pet's feeding schedule, medical conditions and any behavior problems.
- Know exactly where and how to evacuate your pet:
It’s important to know that most evacuation shelters will not accept pets. FDEM advises you to call ahead now to hotels and motels and family and friends outside of the storm zone to find out where your pet can seek shelter.
Local animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinarians can also be resources for pet owners.
It is strongly suggested you evacuate where Mayors have declared a state of emergency.
If for some reason you did not, the Humane Society tells pet owners to include their pets in the “safe area” of the home where you are choosing to take shelter.
This room should have all your pets' emergency supplies, including food and water, medications and crates.
For cats, make sure "unsafe nooks and crannies" in the home are closed off so frightened cats don’t hide out of sight and are able to quickly evacuate with you if disaster strikes.
Pets may also be disoriented after being evacuated or enduring the hurricane, so pet owners are advised to be patient.
Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, although if pets exhibit persisting behavioral or medical problems they should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
How to Prepare Your Family For a Hurricane?
Identifying yourself as having a serious health condition or complication (such as heart or kidney problems) will significantly increase the chance that you will get the care you need.
- Identify yourself as having diabetes.
To get the care you need, you need to announce your condition to relief workers making decisions as to where a person should go and how they should be cared for will be based in part on the seriousness of their medical condition.
- If you take insulin:
You may have a lot of questions regarding insulin storage and switching between products during and after a natural disaster.
- If you are pregnant or have a newborn:
Take extra care during an emergency or natural disaster to avoid harm to you and your baby.
If you are leaving your home, stay safe by reviewing and adhering to FEMA’s evacuation guidelines.
Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate. Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel.
Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
- Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
- Follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.
- Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
- Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
- Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
- Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
- Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
If you experience a medical emergency during the hurricane, call 911.
For less urgent cases, such as minor injuries, burns or cuts and scrapes, be sure to check if your local CareNow urgent care is open and available before visiting!
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.