hurricane readiness

Hurricane Readiness Basics

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 and usually hits its stride around mid-August through October. During this time of year, severe weather becomes top of mind as each named storm brings questions of when and where the next one will hit.

Colorado State University’s Tropical Weather and Climate Research predicts an “extremely active” hurricane season for 2024, calling for 23 named storms, 11 of which could become hurricanes and five that could become major hurricanes.

Are you prepared for a weather emergency or evacuation? Take advantage of the calm long before a storm to plan for your family’s safety with these hurricane readiness tips.

To speak to a AAA insurance agent about your storm coverage, schedule an appointment today

Sign Up for Storm Alerts 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mobile app will send you National Weather Service notifications on up to five locations and locate emergency shelters. You should keep an eye on local news and weather reports as well.

Brush up on how storm categories and other extreme weather terms are defined to better understand what’s in the forecast.

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Learn how to prevent damage to your home, how to stay safe during a storm, when to evacuate and more.

Download Now!

Pack a Bag 

If you have to leave your home on short notice, you’ll want some essentials for you and everyone in your family. FEMA recommends packing things like medications, food and water, clothing and a first-aid kit. Your bag should be easy to carry and kept where you can grab it quickly.

Learn more about how to build an emergency supply kit.

Plan for Evacuation 

State or local officials may issue evacuation notices in advance of dangerous storms. Check with your local department of transportation or emergency management office to familiarize yourself with your area’s evacuation routes.

Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full and carry a kit of basic emergency supplies including snacks, bottled water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, flares, jumper cables, tools, a blanket and a change of clothes.

Establish a Communication Plan 

Figure out how your family will stay in touch if you’re separated or lose power. You can choose an out-of-state contact for everyone to use and designate a meetup spot.

hurricane readiness

Get Supplies 

You can build an emergency stockpile over time, but remember to replace items with a limited shelf life, like food and batteries. Your hurricane readiness supplies should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
  • At least a three-day supply of nonperishable food.
  • Battery or hand-crank radio and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • A wrench and/or pliers.
  • Dust mask to filter contaminated air.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Can opener if your food kit contains cans.
  • Local maps.
  • Prescriptions and reading glasses.
  • Infant formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and extra water for pets.
  • Important family documents, such as insurance policies and bank account records. Store these in a waterproof container.
  • Sleeping bags or warm blankets.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks.
  • Complete change of clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Feminine and personal hygiene supplies.
  • Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils and paper towels.

Staying Put

If you’re not ordered to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows and glass doors. Never use a generator or gasoline-powered equipment indoors or in partially enclosed areas. Such equipment should be outside, 20 feet away from doors, windows and vents.

Prepare Your Home 

Powerful winds and floods are two of the greatest dangers presented by hurricanes. Ready your home by reinforcing doors, windows, walls and the roof. You should also bring loose, light objects like patio furniture and garbage cans inside and anchor objects you cannot bring inside, like grills. Trim or remove trees that are close enough to fall on buildings.

To prepare your home for heavy rains or flooding, keep gutters and drains free of debris. If possible, install a water alarm and sump pump with battery and battery backup. Stockpile plywood, plastic sheeting, sandbags and other emergency materials, too.

Remember that flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners insurance. You should talk to your insurance agent about purchasing coverage, which might have a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect.

Learn the ins and outs of hurricane deductibles.

For more information on hurricane readiness and other safety tips, visit or download our free hurricane preparedness guide

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This article has been updated and republished from a previous version. 

3 Thoughts on “Hurricane Readiness Basics

  1. It depends on what floor of the apartment building that one resides in. Living on the very bottom (or first floor), or even on the very top floor of the apartment building might render the tenant more vulnerable in the event of a nasty hurricane.

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