CES Home / Coastal Resilience / CES - Get Prepared for Hurricane Season

Dr. Colin Polsky
3200 College Ave., Building DW 
Davie, FL 33314 
Phone: (954) 236-1334

Prepare for Hurricane Season

The yearly Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th. To help you prepare for the hurricane season, CES has created a list of activities focused on developing your hurricane plan. Check out our hurricane preparedness activities below.

Join the FAU Center for Environmental Studies each day on Facebook or Twitter for the next few weeks at 9:00 a.m. EDT for activities to develop your hurricane plan!



Set up a binder or a folder on your computer

Create a space to assemble your hurricane plan. It can be binder where you write notes and store printouts of important documents OR it can be an electronic folder on your computer or in the cloud. The goal is to create a system that works best for you!

In the following tasks, you will print documents to store in your binder or save in a folder on your computer.

Below is a list of recommended Hurricane Supplies. Take inventory of your supplies and purchase any items that you are missing.

You can use this Word document as a starting point to customize your supply list. This is by no means a complete list. Print the Word document and add it to your Hurricane Plan binder or save it to your Hurricane Plan folder on your computer.

Hurricane Supply Inventory and Sample Hurricane Supply List:

You should have at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food items for all members of your household, such as ready-to-eat canned foods, granola bars, and peanut butter. Many canned items now come with pull tabs, but you should also have a non-electric can opener handy. Consider stocking up on comfort foods, too. Also, while not environmentally friendly, items such as paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic utensils can make your life easier if you are without electricity and/or potable water.


Experts suggest that you have two quarts (half gallon) of water each day per person in your household. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require more water. Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for guidance on preparing food and water in an emergency at www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for steps to create and store an emergency water supply at www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/creating-storing-emergency-water-supply.html .

Visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/making-water-safe.html to learn how to make water safe in an emergency (including clear safety instructions on boiling, disinfecting, filtering, distilling, and other methods). Add these instructions to your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer.

Flashlights and batteries
Check that you have at least one flashlight per person in your household. Make sure that you have enough working batteries for each flashlight.


Print this "Adult First Aid/CPR/AED" document to put in your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer: www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/Health-Safety-Services/Adult_RRC.pdf.

Then visit www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit.html to get a list of suggested items for a first aid kit and tailor the list to fit your household's needs so that you are prepared for any unexpected emergencies. Add the items to your Hurricane Supply List.

Learn how to safely prepare, evacuate, and shelter for hurricane season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/covid-19/prepare-for-hurricane.html for advice from public health and emergency response professionals on Covid-19 supplies to include on your Hurricane Supply List.

Stock up on items to pass the time and entertain yourself and any children in your household during a storm.  Be prepared in case you are inside your home for hours on end with shuttered windows and no electricity.  Think about the personalities, hobbies, and special interests of your household members when you prepare these supplies. 

Perhaps your "Fun Kit" will be stocked with games, books, magazines, arts and crafts supplies, and fitness equipment suitable for indoors (jump ropes, hula hoops, foam balls).  Also include a flashlight(s) and/or lantern(s) to see what you are doing if the power is out!  Look up suggestions for indoor games and activities to do with kids now so that you will be prepared if you need to shelter in place.

The following tasks will help you prepare for hurricane season. Some of the tasks include adding documents to your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer.

You can use this Word document as a starting point to customize your task list. Print the Word document and add it to your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer.
Hurricane Preparedness Task List:
 Navigate to this web link and follow the directions below: https://hazards-fema.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html

Step 1: Click OK on the Welcome Screen.
Step 2: Enter your address, click on the search icon, and wait for the layers to load.
Step 3: Note the color of the shading for your areas: none, light orange, or blue.
Step 4: If you live in a blue-shaded area, note your zone and elevation (EL).

If you are in an area with no shading, you have minimum flood risk. If you are in a light orange-shaded area, you have a 0.2% annual chance of flood hazard (500-year flood zone) so you still have a minimum flood risk. However, if you are in a blue-shaded area, you have at least a 1% annual chance of flood hazard (100-year flood zone). That means that you have at least a 26% chance of having a flood affect your home during the life of your 30-year mortgage. Keep in mind that FEMA uses historic data so your current flood risk may be different than what is currently projected on the map shown. Make sure to write this information down in your Hurricane Plan.
After you complete the “Know Your Flood Risk” task above, you should do an insurance check-up. If your home is in an unshaded or light orange-shaded area, you qualify for a preferred risk policy (PRP), which is a low-cost flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you are in a blue-shade area, you need flood insurance as you have at least a 26% chance of a flood taking place during your 30-year mortgage. In addition to flood insurance, you should review your homeowner or renter policy. Contact your insurance company today to find out what your policy includes and your coverage options. Use the list on this www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/ready_document-and-insure-your-property.pdf as a guide. Once your policies are up-to-date, print the pertinent items for your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer.
If you have damage from a storm and/or flooding, you'll want to have images to show your insurance company of your affected property and belongings. Go around your house (inside and outside) to take photos from several angles and in every room. Make sure to get photos of your more costly and valuable items, like TVs, computers, furniture and your car. Once you've taken the photos, you can either have them printed for your Hurricane Plan binder or you can save them electronically to your Hurricane Plan folder on your computer.
Whether you have accordion shutters on your home, or you use aluminum or plywood, you want to make sure that you have everything you need to protect your windows and doors before a hurricane is approaching. Do an inventory of your shutter supplies. If you have accordion shutters, check that they are working properly and not rusty. If you have aluminum shutters, make sure that you have all of the items needed for putting them up, such as wing nuts and a wing nut drill attachment or mallet. To cover your windows with plywood, check that you have the necessary screws (tapcons) to attach them to your home. 


You'll want enough food, water, and supplies for your pets and animals for several days. Make sure that you have enough pet carriers for each pet If you have to evacuate. Make sure that you have any pet medications that you may need. Print photos of your pets in the event that they get lost in the storm and keep them to your Hurricane Plan Binder. For more info regarding preparing your animals (including livestock if you have livestock where you live) visit www.ready.gov/pets.
Determine your evacuation route in case you need to evacuate. Navigate to this web link and follow the instructions below: www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/disaster-preparedness-maps/

Step 1: Scroll to the section on the page titled Evacuation Route and Zone Maps.
Step 2: Find your county listed in the section below that title.
Step 3: Open the PDF for your county and print it.


 If you have a vehicle(s), plan how to protect it during a storm, including figuring out where you could park on higher ground where you live and away from wind shear. Don’t forget to fill up your gas tank before the lines get long. If you take a bus, sign up for alerts regarding routes. As a reminder, never walk or drive on flooded roads or through floodwaters. For more info visit www.fdot.gov/emergencymanagement/documents.shtm.
You should have at least a two-week supply of prescription medication or other medication and any necessary medical devices you need.

According to FloridaHealth.gov, if you are eligible for a Special Needs Shelter, your kit should include the following: a list of medications and dosage, a 30-day supply of medications, vital medical equipment for those who may be electrically or oxygen dependent, back-up energy sources for essential medical equipment, any special dietary needs or food, as well as personal information including photo ID, insurance card, emergency contacts, and your primary care providers contact information.

Include any important paperwork such as a copy of your medical history, a list of your medications, and contact information for your primary care providers in your Hurricane Plan binder or folder on your computer.

Visit www.ready.gov/power-outages for guidelines on how to prepare NOW for potential power outages, how to survive DURING a power outage, and how to be safe AFTER a power outage. This site includes a printable power outage information sheet, information for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, and information about food safety, generator safety, and dealing with extreme temperatures.
If you have a generator, make sure that it is working properly. Remember, never run your generator indoors, in a garage, or near windows.

Prepare your home's exterior for a storm in advance. Make sure that your trees are trimmed long before a storm is approaching. A professionally trimmed tree is significantly less likely to topple under the stress of high-winds experienced during a hurricane.

Declutter drains and gutters. Consider getting supplies such as sandbags to protect your doors from flood waters and tarps and rope for protecting damaged roofs. When a storm is approaching, pick up any items surrounding your home that could become a dangerous projectile. Just because an item is heavy to you doesn't mean that it can't be uplifted by hurricane force winds. Find more information at www.gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/trees-and-shrubs/trees/preparing-trees-for-hurricanes.html
Visit www.ready.gov/alerts to learn about warning alerts from public safety officials and how to get them.

Individuals in Florida can visit www.floridadisaster.org/info and click on "Mobile Apps" for the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, Florida 511 traffic, FEMA, Red Cross, Byte to Bites food distribution location, Everbridge, and Gas Buddy apps.

FAU students and staff can sign up for the FAU Alert notification system at www.fau.edu/emergency/universityalerts.php.
Having access to personal, financial, insurance, medical and other records in case of emergency or during disaster recovery is crucial. Gather your household's vital records (such as birth certificates, driver's licenses, adoption papers, Social Security cards, citizenship papers, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, child custody papers, current military IDs, your pet's vaccination and medical records) and insurance policies and put them in a safe location. Property records, medical information, estate planning documents, and financial records need to be accessible and secure. Visit www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness for more information.
Creating a network of support can be helpful to you and your family and friends during the hurricane season. Check with your family, friends, and neighbors to see if they need any help preparing for hurricane season. Let them know where you will be staying during the storm and the best way to reach you following the storm. (Cell phone calls and texts are usually the most reliable communication when the power is out.) You can also share emergency contact information for someone preferably out of state who can reach you after the storm.

When a hurricane is predicted to make landfall in your area within the next 2-3 days, it is time to take the final actions of your hurricane plan:

  • Collect any last minute supplies that you are missing such as prescription refills. Stores will be busy so it is best to do this as early as possible.
  • Cover your windows with storm shutters or plywood. The National Hurricane Center advises residents to put up shutters once a hurricane watch has been issued for the area, about two days before the storm. Be careful installing the shutters when using a ladder and do not try to install shutters during high winds, rain, or lightning.
  • Bring in items from your yard that could be picked up by the wind during the hurricane. This includes lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and bicycles.
  • Fill the gas tank in your car in case you need to evacuate or move your car to higher grounds if you will be sheltering-in-place.
  • Fill your bathtubs and other larger containers with water for flushing toilets and cleaning in case the water is shut off.
  • Fill plastic jugs with drinking water and place them in your freezer and fridge. These will help keep your food cold if the power goes out and can be used as drinking water when they thaw.
  • Charge cell phones and any other electronics that you will need once the power goes out.
  • Pay close attention to the latest weather alerts, emergency instructions, and evacuation orders, and closures on the TV or radio.
  • Follow evacuation orders if you are under a mandatory evacuation order or if you are planning to evacuate. Pack your car and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so. Follow evacuation instructions and routes.
During a hurricane, remaining indoors and safe is your top priority. Here are some tips to help you through the storm:
  • Remain indoors for the duration of the storm until authorities announce that the threat has passed. Do not go outside even if the storm appears to have passed. You may be in the eye of the hurricane and dangerous weather conditions can resume quickly.
  • When indoors, stay away from windows and glass doors. An interior room on the lowest level without windows is generally the safest place to be during a hurricane. This is your “safe space” during a hurricane and can be a bathroom, hallway, or closet.  
  • Pay attention to weather alerts and announcements on a radio, tv, or your cell phone. Important messages including directions to stay in your “safe space” during a tornado watch/warning and information on drinkable water.
  • If you lose power, keep your refrigerator closed as long as possible to keep food cold. Use flashlights instead of candles because candles are a fire risk if they get knocked over. Do not run a generator until  the storm has passed.
  • There are important safety measures to follow after a hurricane as well. Here are some tips on what to do once the authorities have deemed it safe to go outside:
  • The top priority following a hurricane is to make sure that everyone is safe and unharmed. Any injuries beyond those that can be treated with a first aid kit should be taken care of by medical professionals.
  • Assess the damages and check the structural integrity of your home to make sure that it is safe to remain living in. You want to make sure there is no threat of the house collapsing, especially if a tree or large object has fallen on your home. If you have evacuated, do not return to your home until officials say that it is safe to do so. You should inspect your homes for damages before entering to make sure that it is safe.
  • When you are outside, keep away from downed or damaged power lines and report them immediately to local authorities and the power company. Loose, downed, or damaged power lines are dangerous and can electrocute someone. You should also stay away from flood water. Do not walk, swim, or drive through flooded areas. Even a few inches of flood water can wash away a person or car. Lastly, be alert for displaced wildlife such as snakes that take shelter under debris after the storm.
  • Continue to pay attention to weather alerts and announcements on a radio, tv, or your cell phone. These alerts can let you know if your water is safe to drink, if there is a risk of tornadoes after the storm, and where supplies are available.
  • If you are able to, you can make temporary repairs around your house such as covering a damaged roof with a tarp and boarding up broken windows. Be careful when cutting large trees that have fallen over because the root system can cause the trunk to snap back once the limbs are removed. If some flooding or water damage occurred, try to clean it quickly to prevent mold. Remember to take pictures of all the damage for insurance purposes before making repairs and keep records of your expenses. It is recommended to wait to make permanent, expensive repairs until it is reviewed by your insurance.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you know it is safe. In the meantime, use bottled water or sterilize your drinking water.
  • If the power is still out and you are using a generator, keep the generator outside and away from windows. You should keep it at least 10 feet away from your home. Follow other generator safety guidelines including grounding your generator to prevent electrocution and do not backfeed or plug a  portable generator into your house’s electrical panel. When filling your generator with gas, make sure that has cooled off to prevent gas from splashing on the hot generator and starting a fire.
  • Remove the shutters or plywood from your windows as soon as authorities say that it is safe to do so. Boarded windows are a safety threat because they block emergency exits in your house.

 Last Modified 4/3/23