United States Power Squadrons

For Boaters, By Boaters

Manatee Sail & Power Squadron

What to do when a hurricane comes

Hurricane Watches and Warnings

A hurricane watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 mph or greater, or dangerously high water and
rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less. .

During a Hurricane Watch

Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports. Check emergency supplies.
Fuel car. Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools, and anchor objects that
cannot be brought inside. Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils. Review evacuation plan. Moor
boat securely or move it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat to trailer. Use
tie downs to anchor trailer to the ground or house.

During a Hurricane Warning

Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions. If in a mobile home,
check tie downs and evacuate immediately. Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container
on the highest level of your home. Avoid elevators. If at home: stay inside, away from windows, skylights
and glass doors. Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as
candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light. If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce
power "surge" when electricity is restored. If officials indicate evacuation is necessary, leave as soon as
possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Secure your home by unplugging
appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve. Tell someone outside of the storm area
where you are going. If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect
it from flooding or better yet, move it to a higher floor. Bring pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm
protective clothing. Take blankets and sleeping bags to shelter. Lock up home and leave.

After a hurricane hits

Stay tuned to local radio for information. Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate.
Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so. Avoid loose or dangling power lines and
report them immediately to the power company, police or fire department. Enter your home with caution.
Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by flood water. Open windows and doors to
ventilate and dry your home. Check refrigerated foods for spoilage. Take pictures of the damage, both to
the house and its contents and for insurance claims. Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded
roads and washed-out bridges. Use telephone only for emergency calls.

Inspecting utilities in a damaged home

Check for gas leaks -- if you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave
the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a
neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional. Look
for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation,
turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the
fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Check for sewage and water lines damage. If
you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are
damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by
melting ice cubes.