Emergency preparedness resources to assist Veterans before, during and after a hurricane or other emergencies.
The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 – November 30. Never underestimate the value of being prepared!
Check out the information below to learn more about hurricanes, hazards associated with hurricanes, and what you can do to prepare.
Make a Plan
Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends or household to start your emergency plan.
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
See the Hurricane Preparedness Guide for Veterans and Families below (also available in Spanish)
Guidance, links and printable material is available at Ready.gov.
Know your Watches and Warnings
Part of preparing for a hurricane is understanding the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
Make a Plan Build a Kit Be Informed
Given the ongoing global supply chain issues, everyone should consider early storm preparation. You can get tips and hints on how to make sure you and your family are hurricane ready on this web page
- Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, the NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical-storm-force-winds.
- Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.
- Storm Surge Watch: The possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
- Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a warning 36 hours in advance of the tropical-storm-force winds to give you time to complete preparations.
- Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (39 to 73 mph) are expected within you area within 36 hours.
- Storm Surge Warning: The danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 30 hours.
- Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Before, During and After a Hurricane
The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before hurricane season begins on June 1. It is vital to understand your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Here is your checklist of things to do BEFORE hurricane seasons begins.
- Know your zone: Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area.
- Be prepared for hurricane season: The National Weather Service hurricane preparedness information can help you be prepared.
- Put together an emergency kit: Put together a hurricane disaster supply kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators, and storm shutters. Ensure you have enough medications on hand.
- Develop or review your family emergency plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the Ready.Gov emergency plan webpage.
- Review your insurance policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
Resources (National, Federal, State, and more)
- CDC natural disasters and severe weather
- CDC: emergency preparedness and response
- Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP)
- EPA Natural Disasters and Weather Emergencies
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- FEMA Social Hub
- Food & Drug Administration Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Ready.Gov Disasters & Emergencies Resource
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- USA.gov Disasters and Emergencies
- National Hurricane Center
- Florida Disaster Emergency Information
- National Weather Service – Jacksonville
- National Weather Service – Tallahassee
- National Weather Service – Tampa Bay
- Ready.Gov – Hurricanes
- FEMA Mobile App and Text Messages
- National Weather Service
- National Hurricane Center
- Links to State/US Government Hurricane Resources
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Storm Prediction Center
Tornado Safety Tips
To stay safe during a tornado, prepare a plan and an emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head.
To protect yourself and your family from harm during a tornado, pay close attention to changing weather conditions in your area. If you know thunderstorms are expected, stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or an NOAA weather radio for further weather information. Some tornadoes strike rapidly without time for a tornado warning. The following weather signs may mean that a tornado is approaching:
- A dark or green-colored sky
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud
- Large hail
- A loud roar that sounds like a freight train
If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio or check the internet.
Know when to shelter. Falling and flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.
- Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
- If possible, avoid sheltering in a room with windows.
- For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
- Do not stay in a mobile home.
Flood Safety Tips
During a Flood Watch or Warning
- Gather emergency supplies, including non-perishable food and water. Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. Store at least a 3-day supply.
- Listen to your local radio or television station for updates.
- Have immunization records handy (or know the year of your last tetanus shot).
- Store immunization records in a waterproof container.
- Bring in outdoor items (lawn furniture, grills, trash cans) or tie them down securely.
- If evacuation appears necessary, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
- Leave areas subject to flooding such as low spots, canyons, washes, etc. (Remember: avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water.)
After you return home, if you find that your home was flooded, practice safe cleaning.
After Flooding Occurs
- Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water. As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Do not drink flood water, or use it to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash/prepare food. Drink clean, safe water.
- If you evacuated, return to your home only after local authorities have said it is safe to do so.
- Listen for boil water advisories. Local authorities will let you know if your water is safe for drinking and bathing.
- During a water advisory, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, etc.
- When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food and bottled water that comes/may have come into contact with floodwater.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Use generators at least 20 feet from any doors, windows, or vents. If you use a pressure washer, be sure to keep the engine outdoors and 20 feet from windows, doors, or vents as well. Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open.
The initial damage caused by a flood is not the only risk. Standing floodwater can also spread infectious diseases, bring chemical hazards, and cause injuries.
After you return home, if you find that your home was flooded, practice safe cleaning. Remove and throw out drywall and insulation that was contaminated with floodwater or sewage. Throw out items that cannot be washed and cleaned with a bleach solution: mattresses, pillows, carpeting, carpet padding, and stuffed toys. Homeowners may want to temporarily store items outside of the home until insurance claims can be filed. See recommendations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)external icon.
Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors, and other household surfaces with soap and water and disinfect with a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water.
Health Information Card
An emergency health information card communicates to first responders what they need to know about you if they find you unconscious, incoherent or if they need to quickly help you evacuate. An emergency health information card should contain information about any disabilities, medications, any equipment you use, allergies, communication difficulties you may have, preferred treatment and medical providers, and emergency contacts.
Print the emergency health information card located below and complete it with a permanent ink pen. Make multiple copies of the card to keep in emergency supply kits, car, wallet or purse, wheelchair pack, etc.