Have a Plan



Long before a hurricane hits, your family should have a "just-in-case" plan of action.

Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare your emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it--on the refrigerator or bulletin board.

  • Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
  • Pick two meeting places. A place near your home in case of a fire. A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  • Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class
  • Keep family records in a water-and fire-proof container.

Many people plan to stay with friends or relatives at an inland location when a hurricane threatens Hampton Roads. That's a good plan for many reasons. Most importantly, it takes you and your loved ones out of the greatest danger, especially if you live in an area prone to storm surge. But it also takes the strain off local facilities and roads.

Remember, if an evacuation is ordered, roads will be congested. Keep your tank full and plan to leave early. Whether or not you decide to leave town, here are some steps you can take to safeguard your property:

  • Inventory your property
    take photographs and make a list of all valuables
  • Safeguard valuable papers in high & dry location
    deeds, wills, insurance policies, contracts, titles, passports, leases, tax returns
  • Secure loose objects outside or move to garage or shed, including outdoor furniture, trashcans, outdoor grills
  • Protect windows
    close shutters or cover with plywood
  • Move cars inside garage
    secure garage door
  • Move boats close to house
    lash securely to trailer, fill with water to weigh down
  • Secure loose objects inside
    close closet doors, tape cabinet doors shut


Home Hazard Hunt
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.

  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
  • Clean and test smoke detectors once a month. Change batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of fire.
  • Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type).
  • Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
  • Consider installing home sprinklers.