Emergency Preparedness and Response: Hurricanes

During a Hurricane

During a hurricane, housing is critical to ensure your safety. If you are experiencing homelessness or ordered to evacuate, proper shelter is equally critical. Personal safety should be your top priority, and your home or proper shelter can keep you safe from storm surges and flying debris that can cause bodily damage or even death.

You should monitor weather updates and always follow all directives and special instructions from your local officials including whether you should evacuate. If officials order or recommend an evacuation, follow their directions as the safest shelter might not be your home. If officials call for sheltering in place or issue a stay-at-home order, follow their directions as staying in your home might be safer than leaving due to dangerous driving conditions.

Prepare for an impending evacuation by:

  • Packing a to-go bag.
  • Securing important legal, financial, and medical documents.
  • Withdrawing cash.
  • Gathering a supply of necessary medications.
  • Filling your car’s gas tank or finding alternative transportation to shelter.

You should also review your evacuation plan with your family and notify family and/or close friends of this plan. For more information about what to include in a to-go bag and how to be ready to evacuate, visit our Preparing for a Hurricane webpage.

Prepare to shelter in place by:

  • Stocking your emergency disaster supply kit.
  • Having fuel on hand to run your generator, if you have one.

For more information about what to include in your emergency disaster supply kit, visit our Preparing for a Hurricane webpage.

In addition to the immediate physical threats that hurricanes present, they can also pose additional health risks and housing hazards. Improper use of fuel-burning generators can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Never operate a generator inside your home. Turning off utilities, if you are instructed to do so, will help prevent electrical fires due to appliance shortages or overflowing of contaminated water in sinks, toilets, or showers

To mitigate damage to your home and help ensure your safety during a hurricane, you can take several steps. Some of these steps include:

  • Shutter windows.
  • Anchor outdoor furniture or move it indoors if possible.
  • Turn off your propane tank.
  • Follow directions from your local utility provider about whether you should turn off utilities including your gas valve, water valve, and main electrical breaker.
  • Never use a generator inside; keep it at least 20 feet away from your home.

If you’re sheltering in place, stay away from windows and doors by taking refuge in an interior room. If you’re sheltering in place and there is flooding inside your home, turn off power at the main electrical breaker, go to the highest level in your house with an exit (e.g. window), and avoid a closed space like an attic as you can become trapped.


Generator Use
  • Fuel-burning generators produce carbon monoxide (CO) which is poisonous and deadly.
  • CO is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open, and keep more than 20 feet away.
  • Keep your family safe by installing CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home. Check your detectors frequently to make sure they’re functioning properly.

The resources below provide guidance and tips on how to remain safe during a hurricane.

Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm 
CDC’s webpage includes information on what to do to keep you and your family safe impending a hurricane including getting your home ready and how to be ready to evacuate or stay at home. [url; CDC, 2019]

During a Hurricane: How to Be Safe 
Visit this website for recommendations on how to stay safe during a hurricane when in shelter. [url; Hurricane Science and Society]

Hurricanes: Stay Safe During a Hurricane 
Ready.gov offers resources and recommendations on how to stay safe during a hurricane, personal safety, and dealing with the weather when in shelter. [url; Ready.gov]

Hurricane Management: Hurricane 
This website provides simple tips on what to do during a hurricane to keep you safe. [url; Yale]

5 Hurricane Safety Tips to Stay Safe During the Storm
Visit this website to learn tips on how to stay safe during a hurricane when in shelter. [url; Universal Property]

Build an Emergency Kit and Grab-and-Go Bag
This website provides basic supply lists for what to include in your emergency kit and grab-and-go bag. [url, British Columbia]

21 Tips to Manage Your Home Utilities in a Hurricane
This website provides utility-related tips to help you before, during, and after a hurricane or flood. [url; Electricity Plans]

Carbon Monoxide – Generator Safety Fact Sheet 
CDC’s website provides information on how to handle your generator properly during a hurricane so that you do not cause carbon monoxide poisoning. [url; CDC]

[Esp] Monóxido de carbono: Uso seguro de los generadores 
Para evitar el envenenamiento por monóxido de carbono, los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades ofrecen instrucciones en español sobre el manejo adecuado de su generador durante un huracán. [url; CDC]


Latest page update: October 13, 2022.