August 24th, 2011
10:36 PM ET

How to prepare for a hurricane

Tuesday's earthquake on the U.S. East Coast shows what can happen when a big event happens with no warning. The cell phone network was overwhelmed, people poured into the streets and social media exploded. I think an earthquake has to be the scariest natural disaster to encounter, because you don't know it is coming.

Hurricanes are a whole different story. With all the sophisticated satellite, radars and computers the world has at its disposal, we know days in advance that Hurricane Irene - churning near the Bahamas on Wednesday - is heading toward the Carolinas and will likely pound the Northeast over the weekend. While you can't stop a hurricane from damaging things, you can protect yourself and your family by preparing.
Some tips:

Have a portable disaster supply kit - It's important to gather some things before a storm, because supplies may be gone after the storm hits. This to-go bag should be portable, and it should contain:

-Bottled water
-Blankets and pillows
-First-aid kit and any medicine you need

-Flashlight and extra batteries
-Radio or NOAA weather radio
-Cash (ATMs may not be available for several days)
-Pet care items

Have a plan

-Know if your home is vulnerable to storm surges, flooding and wind.
-Have a safe room/area. The safest area may not be in your home, but may be a shelter in your community.
-Know the route away from danger. Some communities have hurricane evacuation zones. Have a primary and alternative route.
-Plan places where your family can meet in and out of your neighborhood
-Have an emergency contact who everyone in your family knows and can contact.
-Secure your home. Forget about taping your windows (This will not stop any objects hurled through the air by 90 mph winds). Have plywood custom-cut to fit your windows and pre-drill holes in the plywood for screws. Custom shutters can also be made ahead of time. Also, remove all dead or loose limbs from trees and shrubs on your property.

Stay informed

-CNN Hurricane tracker (

-Local television and radio stations

-National Hurricane Center: Website / mobile site / Twitter

-Your local National Weather Service forecast office

-FEMA: Website / Twitter

-The American Red Cross Online Disaster Newsroom

-Ready America

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    The world is a hurricane, and I am its eye.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. drap

    Duck,cover..and roll... .

    August 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "NOAA Coneheads"

    Preparedness? Why I never gave it any thought. Wear protection? You know a raincoat? Maybe hide under some cardboard. Hey, how about making an enclosure out of a pile of skids? If you're in the middle of nowhere...what do you do?

    August 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    As my grampa usta say :bend over and kiss your a__ goodbye.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. yada

    @ raven...LOL! That's cute!

    August 25, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "NOAA Coneheads"

    Somebody will send them an IReport from a raft in eye. 🙂

    August 25, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Naomi

    So the earthquake was a drilling. I hope the nuclear plant won't get hit. It's always men who induce the worst disasters.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Naomi

    Americans should be grateful. All they need is caution and wisdom. The US government is incredibly humane and mighty. Hurricane is predictable and USA has plenty land to flee in any direction. Even if Americans lose everything such as homes, as long as alive, rebuilding is guaranteed. Earthquakes hit without any warning on the other hand and USA's spacious land makes the damage minimum. Many nations don't have such luxury and in case of hurricanes they have no land or methods to flee anywhere.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. s kel

    humm thats funny i dont see any cali folks telling us east coasters how wimpy we are dealing with a hurricane days after a minor earth tremmor. I guess they know nothing of a hurricane, lol, wimps.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Naomi

    Natural calamities hit everywhere. It's the system in our world that none of us is spared. America needs humility before the Creator God and should stop saying blasphemies. Humans should never forget that all of us are mortal beings and there will be judgment on everything we say or do before God.

    August 25, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. justathought

    =====An earthquake is like congress.====

    August 25, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. how to prepare for hurricanes

    Same as for terrori attack only nails and wood insteaf of duct tape and plastic.

    August 25, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andreas Moser

    I'd LOVE to see a hurricane!

    August 25, 2011 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Angel

    Go inland and leave the house. Take your dog and leave in the car, sleep in a rest area 200 miles inland. Hurricanes are destructive and deadly. take your memories and valuables and ruuuuuuun.

    August 25, 2011 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. joann

    All,these earrthquakes,coming all of a sudden.One,stops and wonders what is going on with the world.I'd,say "The Time has Come".This,is the last days,do you people need any more proof. JoAnn Bartholomew

    August 25, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • PML

      Proof besides the presence of well-understood natural phenomena? Yeah, that would be nice.

      August 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
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