Hurricane Prep 101: Tips for the Whole Family

Hurricane Prep 101: Tips for the Whole Family

Written by Noah Sanders, M.D./M.P.H. candidate at the Miller School of Medicine, with Julie Belkowitz, M.D., M.P.H., and Oneith Cadiz, M.D.

The beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is just around the corner. It runs from June until the end of November every year. As Floridians, hurricanes are nothing new to us, but it is still always important to be prepared for the season. If you have never experienced a hurricane before, then remember it is essential to plan ahead.

How do you know if a hurricane is coming?
They are storms of high-speed winds and rain that move in a large spiral. The faster the wind, the more dangerous they are. When they reach land, hurricanes are destructive because they cause fast winds, lots of rain (which causes floods), and sometimes even tornados.

Thankfully, the weather reports help us know when these storms are coming our way. According to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, a hurricane warning is issued 48 hours before when a hurricane forming is possible. In contrast, a hurricane watch is issued 36 hours before a hurricane is expected. However, you can prepare for a hurricane far in advance of any storm.

Make a plan at the start of hurricane season
It’s best to make a plan that involves the whole family. To prepare for the hazards of a hurricane, you should do these four things at the start of hurricane season well before a storm:
Know how your home might be at risk for damage from winds and flooding and prepare to strengthen it.

For example, install hurricane-proof window covers or be ready to put up shutters or boards to cover any exposed windows and sliding glass doors.

Find out if you live in an evacuation zone. If you do, plan ahead for where you would go in case of a storm. Know if you are in an evacuation zone and have an evacuation route planned.

Prepare your disaster kit with enough supplies to last at least a week. Kids can even help you put some of the hurricane supplies together. This can be a great way to teach them the importance of each part of the hurricane prep supply kit. Your hurricane prep should include:
* At least a gallon of drinking water per person, per day
* Nonperishable foods (canned/pantry food, peanut butter, bread, granola bars)
* Walkie talkies or solar-powered battery, charger, and smartphone
* First aid and any medications needed for specific family members
* Battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries, and matches and candles
* Toiletries, one month supply of medications (stored safely away from other supplies and the reach of children), supplies for your baby, such as diapers, formula, etc., and toys and calming items for your children.

A more in-depth hurricane prep supply kit can be found at

Write and review your Family Emergency Plan with your close friends and family before the storm hits. A good family emergency plan includes how to contact each other, where to go and what to do in an emergency. This step is especially crucial for kids so they can learn important skills such as when to call 911 and also plan in the event that you get separated during a disaster.

For more information on creating an emergency plan, visit