Joanna Carbone mails her daughter's childhood dolls and important family documents to relatives out of state before evacuating before Hurricane Ivan in 2004 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Follow these steps in your home prior to the storm:
WHEN A STORM THREATENS
Seal key documents — including passports, wills, contracts, insurance papers, car titles, deeds, leases and tax information — in zip plastic bags and get into a protected, dry place, such as a safe-deposit box or home safe.
Monitor the news
Set the refrigerator to its coldest setting in anticipation of the power failing.
Fill the bathtub. It may be your main supply of water.
Stock heavy-duty garbage bags for post-storm home and yard cleanup.
Check flashlight and radio batteries and have extras on hand.
Charge rechargeable cellphones, drills, power screwdrivers, flashlights, lanterns and batteries.
Make sure you have enough toilet paper to last until you can safely get to the store again.
If you live in mobile home, you should evacuate if a hurricane of any strength is heading your way.
If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, you must evacuate if an order is given. Please see evacuation zone maps (if available) to find out which areas must evacuate for Category 1 or 2 hurricanes and which must leave for Category 3 or higher storms.
Your first choice should be to stay with a friend or family member who is living close by but is not in a flood-vulnerable area.
If you plan to leave, start packing. Don’t wait until the storm is almost here to get on the road.
WHEN A STORM IS APPROACHING
Don’t be misled by landfall predictions. Strong winds could arrive hours before official landfall and be many miles away from the eye.
Move furniture away from windows or cover with plastic.
Move as many valuables as possible off the floor to limit flooding damage.
If possible, secure small, fragile and/or valuable items that could be thrown around if winds enter your home.