Personal Safety

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist (2024, Printable): Prepare Today, Be Safe Tomorrow

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A hurricane lashing a beach with high surf and winds. Palm tree fronds are blowing sideways.
You don’t want to be here when a hurricane hits the shore. Follow our hurricane preparedness guide so you can be well on your way to safety before disaster strikes.

Hurricane Nicole

Subtropical storm Nicole could increase to hurricane strength by Wednesday and make landfall on the east coast of Florida which is still recovering from Ian. Keep an eye on its progress by visiting the National Hurricane Center for updates.

How Common Are Hurricanes In November?

Although it may seem rare to have a named storm this late in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, half of the hurricane seasons since 1966 have had at least one named storm form in November, according to Phil Klotzbach, a senior research scientist at Colorado State University, in a New York Times report.

Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian made landfall on the west coast of Florida on Wednesday, September 28. Tampa, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and other areas suffered excessive flooding and damage, and Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina were also impacted.

More Hurricanes Expected In 2022

This hurricane season marks the most Atlantic named storms to form between October 31 – November 7 on record.

For 2022, the National Weather Service predicts up to 20 named Atlantic storms, well above the average of 14. Forecasters are also expecting more major hurricanes than average. As we face more frequent and ferocious storms, it’s essential to know how to prepare for a hurricane if you live along or near the coast or in another flood-prone area.

Additionally, many shelters and standard evacuation locations may be closed. So, contact local officials in advance to know your options.

Stay Informed

Once you hear the mere mention of a possible hurricane, it’s time to tune in frequently to local and national weather reports to keep an eye on the storm’s track. The following information is crucial to keep in mind:

  1. Know if you live in a flood-prone or evacuation area and where to find evacuation routes.
  2. Understand the difference between a hurricane watch (hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours) and a hurricane warning (hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours).
  3. Make sure you have contact numbers handy for your local law enforcement and emergency services, your local Red Cross, hospitals, utility companies, and your property insurance agent.

Plan Ahead

Don’t wait to put your hurricane preparedness checklist together. This is something you can do before hurricane season arrives.

Family Emergency Plan

A family emergency plan is important for unexpected or imminent natural disasters like a tornado or earthquake, but it still makes sense to have one in place if a hurricane causes far more destruction than forecasters anticipate.

Your family may not be together when a hurricane hits, so make sure you know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if you get separated by flooding, severe wind damage or evacuations.

Hurricane Supply Checklist (Printable PDF)

Below is our hurricane supply checklist, which is also available in a printable PDF format here.

Editor’s Pick
Ready America 70280 Emergency KitReady America 70280 Emergency Kit

The American Red Cross recommends the following supplies for a hurricane kit. Also, be sure to read our disaster survival kit reviews for the best emergency kits you should have on-hand for your car, home and office.

  1. Water and non-perishable food — at least a 3-day supply
  2. Flashlights
  3. Battery-powered portable radio
  4. Extra batteries
  5. First aid kit
  6. Medications (7-day supply) and any other necessary medical items
  7. Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  8. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  9. List of emergency contacts
  10. Mobile phones with chargers
  11. Extra cash
  12. Emergency blanket
  13. Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  14. Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  15. Tools/supplies for securing your home
  16. Extra clothing and shoes
  17. Rain gear
  18. Insect repellent and sunscreen
  19. Printed recent photos of your family members, including pets

Hurricane Supply Checklist (Infographic)

Here’s our handy checklist in infographic format.

Hurricane Supply Checklist Infographic

Evacuation Plan

In the event your local authorities issue a voluntary or mandatory evacuation, you need to have a plan in place.

  1. Plan how and where you’ll go if you’re told to evacuate.
  2. Know where the nearest emergency shelters are operating. If you have pets, most public shelters will only take service animals.
  3. If needed, identify a place to go that takes pets (friend’s house, hotel).
  4. Have a portable emergency kit stocked and ready to go.
  5. Follow the identified evacuation route. Don’t take shortcuts, as there may be flooding or damage on the roads.

When Is It Time To Take Action?

If you’ve been upgraded from a hurricane watch to a hurricane warning, you have precious little time (36 or fewer hours) to put all your plans into practice. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Make sure your hurricane emergency kit is fully stocked.
  2. Fill your car’s gas tank.
  3. Bring in all loose items from your porch and yard (bicycles, lawn furniture).
  4. Secure your hurricane shutters or board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  5. Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings so your food will last longer if the power goes out.
  6. Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
  7. Follow your evacuation plan if necessary.
  8. Charge your cell phone and prep a battery backup, if you have one.
  9. Fill bathtubs with water in case clean water supply is cut off.

What To Do During A Hurricane

  1. Evacuate immediately if told to do so.
  2. During high winds, go to a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that’s not subject to flooding.
  3. If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest floor. Don’t climb into a closed attic — you may become trapped by floodwaters.
  4. Keep your radio on for the latest emergency notifications.
  5. Use a generator outdoors only and away from windows.
  6. Don’t walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. You can get knocked down by just six inches of fast-moving water, and only one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  7. Avoid bridges over fast-moving water.
  8. More advice on hurricane preparedness on

After The Storm

  1. Avoid areas that are prone to subsequent flooding once the storm ends.
  2. If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it’s safe.
  3. Steer clear of loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately.
  4. Stay out of any building that has water around it.
  5. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you’re sure it’s not contaminated.
  6. Check refrigerated food for spoilage.
  7. Take pictures of any damage to your home, including the structure and contents, for insurance.

Does Taping Windows Work?

We’ve all seen images of people taping up windows in preparation for a hurricane, but does this really protect your home? Check out the following video for expert advice.

Beware Of Hurricane Scams

Scammers are unscrupulous, and we’ve seen a rise of attempts to take advantage of people during the hurricane season.

Hurricane Charity Scams

Here’s how to make sure your aid dollars aren’t stolen by fake charities and relief efforts.

  1. Donate to charities you know, and watch out for new charities or relief websites created in response to current events.
  2. Remember that not all charity messages posted on social media are legitimate – avoid clicking on links on social media platforms or in direct messages.
  3. Don’t click on links or respond to email messages from charities you haven’t supported in the past. Legitimate organizations will never send you a message with an attachment. If you receive an email appeal for aid with an attachment, delete it.
  4. Run these quick checks to determine whether websites are valid:
    1. Most non-profit web addresses end with .org and not .com. They don’t end in a series of numbers – and won’t ask you for detailed personal information such as social security, bank account, date of birth etc.
    2. Unless it’s a known organization, research the organization before making a donation by visiting charity evaluation sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
    3. In the United States, the IRS has search tools that reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
    4. Use secure services to make the donations, avoid making donations through text messages or in cash, and never share your social security number! Lastly, keep records of your contributions.

Does Climate Change Contribute To Hurricanes?

The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Save Time With An Emergency Kit

If you’re worried you won’t have time to assemble a hurricane preparedness kit during an impending storm, why not purchase pre-assembled emergency kits? Then, you can focus on other safety measures for your family during this frightening time.

Be sure to check out our reviews of the best emergency preparedness kits and best emergency food kits that you can buy now and always have on hand.

Sally Jones

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance. Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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