Top tips for staying safe during a hurricane

September 22, 2015

Hurricanes can cause a great amount of destruction to homes and the environment around them. Check out this list of tips for staying safe and protecting your property during a hurricane.

Top tips for staying safe during a hurricane

During a hurricane watch

A hurricane watch is issued by Environment Canada when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24 to 36 hours.

  • During a hurricane watch, stay tuned to your radio or TV for hurricane progress reports.
  • Check your emergency supplies, and fuel your getaway car.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
  • If you have a boat, run it up into a protected cove if possible, and moor it with extra strong lines.
  • Tie down objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Tape or board up windows or close storm shutters.
  • Remove any outside antennas.
  • Because you may lose electricity later, turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings. Open them only when absolutely necessary, and close them quickly.
  • Freeze bottles of water to extend the time you can keep food cold.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and cooking pots.
  • Carry your valuables to a secure location, preferably on the second floor.
  • Review your evacuation plan.

During a hurricane warning

A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 119 kilometres/74 mph or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected to hit within 24 hours.

  • During a hurricane warning, listen to your radio or TV for official instructions while you complete preparations.
  • As the winds build, if you have not been told to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • If you live in an identified flood zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding or, better yet, move it to a higher floor.
  • Don't use your phone or car except for an emergency.
  • If power is lost, unplug major appliances to protect against power surge damage when the electricity is restored.

Evacuating during a hurricane

If officials call for evacuation, carry out any final tasks to secure your home and head to the evacuation point as soon as possible.

  • If you haven't done so already, unplug appliances and turn off the electricity, water and gas.
  • Call someone outside of the storm area to say where you are going.
  • Load the car with pre-assembled emergency supplies and warm, protective clothing.
  • Take sleeping bags and blankets to use in the shelter.
  • Lock up before you leave.
  • Drive inland or to higher ground, according to the evacuation plan, while also avoiding flooded roads.

After a hurricane occurs

Significant devastation can occur after a hurricane. Often, roads are closed due to fallen trees and flooding, and people can be stranded in their homes.

  • Stay tuned to a local radio station for information.
  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe.
  • Drive only if necessary, and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines, and report them immediately to the power company, police or fire department.
  • Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by floodwaters.
  • Enter your house with caution.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and to its contents, for insurance claims.

While a hurricane can be a scary situation, being prepared and aware of the weather forecast is the best way to make sure you stay safe and your home isn't damaged. Having a hurricane evacuation plan and an emergency supply kit will go a long way to protecting you from this natural disaster.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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