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You may not live in hurricane-prone areas, but it’s still important to understand these powerful storms. You may be able to assist friends or relatives living in the paths of hurricanes. And the steps required to prepare for a hurricane apply to other natural disasters as well.

If you do live where hurricanes strike, it’s essential to come up with an action plan. Though you won’t be able to alter the path of the hurricane, being prepared can maximize your family’s safety and minimize your property damages.

Follow these tips to guide your preparedness efforts:

  • Know your exposure – It is important to know and understand the risks associated with your neighborhood. Know your area’s vulnerability to storm surges, flood elevation, and the risk for power outages in the event of a hurricane.
  • Plan your escape route – Have an evacuation plan ready in case you need to make a quick exit. Orient every member of the family about the escape route. Assign at least two possible evacuation sites where family members can proceed if they need to evacuate.
  • Collect contact information – Be ready with the contact information for people or organizations that you will need to reach, such as the police, hospital, and insurance company. You should also include the phone number for a designated person that family members can call if they are unable to reach each other. A friend or relative from out of town is ideal.
  • Prepare supplies – Create a 72-hour kit of emergency supplies for each family member. It should include water, non-perishable food items, a change of clothes, blankets, and medicine. The kits should be enclosed in something simple to carry, such as a backpack, and should be easily accessible from the home’s exit points.

You should also prepare your home for storms once you get word that they are approaching. You can do this by covering windows with boards, cutting down tree branches that could fall on the house, and cleaning the gutters.

Most every area of the country is prone to some type of natural disaster. Whether it be hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires, prepare yourself so that if they strike, you’ll be able to keep your family and property as safe as possible.