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It’s Hurricane Season: How to prepare for the before, during and after

  • Category: Education, News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Ashley Rains

It is hurricane season, an important time for all Gulf Coast communities to pause and consider what you need to know for storm season. It is also important to recognize that preparation means being ready for all stages of a storm: the before, during and after. 

The Before 

Remember a tropical storm can quickly become a hurricane and a hurricane can increase in intensity quickly, so it is vital to stay aware of what is heading towards the Gulf Coast.  

Develop an emergency plan. First, how will you receive emergency weather information? Mobile and Baldwin County Emergency Management Agencies each have ways by which residents can be notified of emergency weather and other potential emergencies in the area. These are also useful resources for shelter information and evacuation routes. Knowing both ahead of a storm is a vital asset to an emergency plan. In addition, local news stations are a reliable resource, and many have weather alerts for their mobile apps.  
Mobile County EMA 
Baldwin County EMA 

Consider the specific needs of your household. Medications could be scarce in the event of a direct hit from a major storm. Plan by stocking up on at least one month of refills for essential medications, including inhalers, EpiPens and other prescription items you may not use daily. If anyone in your household uses devices or equipment that require battery power, be certain to have the correct size battery on hand, labeled specifically for use with the device or equipment. Also, consider the age-related necessities of the household. Small children require essential needs that are different than adults, and the same is true for elderly adults. Finally, have a plan that includes any household or service animals.  

Build an emergency supply kit. Every household on the Gulf Coast should keep and maintain an emergency supply kit for any disaster situation. Hurricane season is always a good time to assess the condition of the emergency supply kit and replace anything that has expired or is in disrepair.  

What to include: 

  • A small tool kit including pliers, a multipurpose tool and anything you may need to shut off your home’s utilities 

  • Duct tape, a tarp and heavy duty gloves 

  • A basic first aid kit, including bandages and over-the-counter medications 

  • Clean water in non-breakable containers 

  • Nonperishable food items – canned goods, packaged snacks, etc. 

  • Flashlight, candles and matches, stored in a waterproof container 

  • Fire extinguisher  

  • Backup batteries for all essential battery-powered items including medical equipment 

  • Mechanically-powered radio 

  • Personal hygiene items 

  • Eyeglasses 

Consider an insurance check-up for your home and property. It is essential to make sure your home and flood insurance are up-to-date. Call your agent or check online.  

The During 

Secure your home and property. Secure or bring inside any items that could become a projectile during tropical storm or hurricane force winds. This includes outdoor furniture, lawn equipment, flags and flower pots. Close window shutters and lock and secure your windows. Disconnect any propane tanks.  

Stay up-to-date and weather-aware. This is vital to keeping safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. Keep updated on all advisories, warnings and evacuation mandates in your area. Watch or listen to local news and heed any advisories issued by the National Weather Service.  

Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting. In the case of a power outage, reduce opening and closing the refrigerator to keep food as fresh as possible.  

Prepare extra water. Freeze water in bottles that can be thawed later. Fill a bathtub, large buckets or other containers with water that can be used for cleaning and flushing toilets if needed.  

The After 

Just because the storm has passed does not mean you are clear from dangerous conditions. If you or someone in your household is injured, call 911. Stay clear of downed lines and assume they have power. Stay away from floodwaters and avoid driving until city or county officials say all roads are clear.  

Use flashlights instead of candles when possible.  

Discard any food that has come into contact with flood or storm water or that has not been refrigerated properly. When in doubt, throw it out. Use bottled or boiled water for food, cooking or hygiene until city or county officials advise otherwise.  

For comprehensive post-storm safety information and resources, visit: 

CDC Stay Safe After a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm.