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Sep 03

Hurricane Preparedness NOW!

Posted on September 3, 2019 at 4:19 PM by Sharon Hoggard

Are you ready if a hurricane strikes our coast? According to emergency management officials with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and local officials, residents should be preparing for hurricanes as soon as possible. In addition to putting together a hurricane emergency kit, experts recommend that you inventory everything in your home so that you will have accurate records in case you have to file an insurance claim. Resources are readily available to help residents prepare for these serious storms.

Preparing for Hurricanes:

During a hurricane or tropical storm WATCH (threat of hurricane or tropical storm conditions within 36 hours), monitor local radio or television stations for official emergency information and instructions.  Make a plan to evacuate in case you are asked to do so.  During evacuations, roadways can get crowded and airports might close.

Before the StormInterior Preparations

Verify that vital records are in a safe storage area. Files, records and storage cabinets might be wrapped in plastic for moisture protection.

If necessary, temporarily relocate records to a safe storage facility off-site.

Inventory hurricane emergency supplies and restock if necessary.

Clear all desk and table tops of small loose items.

Secure first floor doorways with sandbags, duct tape or heavy plastic to protect  interior from possible flooding.

Disconnect all electrical appliances and equipment.

Box or place any loose papers, books, hanging plants, etc., in desk drawers or  storage cabinets.

Close and lock all windows. Draw the blinds or drapes.

Secure adequate cash to operate for several days.

If you are advised to evacuate, lock the doors when you leave.

Exterior Preparations:

Secure your property. Install hurricane shutters over glass doors and windows or install protective material such as plywood (at least ½ inch thick).  Make sure the plywood is flush against the wall and tight – gaps will allow wind to enter.

Tie down or bring indoors any objects that might be blown around by hurricane winds (outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, display racks, signs and any other loose objects that are normally left outside).

Remove all outdoor signs, particularly those that swing or might cause damage during strong winds.

Secure all items that cannot be brought inside.

Remove antennas and loose objects from the roof.

Keep trees and shrubs well-trimmed.

Ensure that all vehicles are serviced and fueled.  Determine where they can be stored during the storm.

After the Storm:

After a hurricane or tropical storm, stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding, even after the hurricane or tropical storm has weakened.

·        Stay away from flood water.  Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.

·        Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. After the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads could be weakened and could collapse.

·        Examine the exterior of the building and walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.

Begin clean-up, document damages, and contact your insurance agent.

Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone outside quickly. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

·        If someone needs to be rescued, call professionals with the right equipment to help. Many people have been killed or injured trying to rescue others in flooded areas.

Stay away from loose or downed power lines. Immediately report them to the power company, police or fire department.

Find assistance and more tips for making a family emergency plan and how to prepare for a hurricane on the city of Portsmouth website at and the VDEM website at