Nationwide Catastrophe Response Unit

Hurricanes are among the most powerful severe weather events found in nature. These fearsome storm systems can originate in any ocean – Atlantic, Pacific or Caribbean – and pack a punch of 150-170 mph winds. And when they hit land, they can spawn tornadoes, tropical storms, torrential rain, flooding, landslides and substantial destruction in general. So, it's never too early to think about hurricane preparedness – and how you can protect your family, home, property and business. Here are some essential hurricane safety tips to help you prepare for a hurricane.

Hurricane Safety Tips

Before a hurricane

If conditions are right for a hurricane in your area, this is how you can prepare:

  • Stay tuned to local radio and TV for warnings, safety announcements or instructions.
  • Turn off all utilities, including propane tanks.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows with storm shutters or 5/8” marine plywood.
  • If it’s safe, move outdoor furniture and grills inside. They can be deadly flying debris.
  • If emergency officials haven’t directed you to a public shelter, get your family to the basement, a closet, a small room or a hallway away from windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
  • Don't open your windows. Keep the wind and rain outside.
  • Hand out flashlights. The hurricane will probably disrupt electrical service.

After a hurricane has passed

If you and your family were evacuated from your home – or if it has been severely damaged from the hurricane – wait for authorities to give the all-clear to re-enter. Then:

  • Look for flooding in the wake of a hurricane. Rising water can produce dangerous conditions hours or even days later.
  • Check for structural damage before going inside.
  • If dark, use a flashlight – not matches, a candle or a lighter. An open flame could ignite leaking gas.
  • Listen for reports to see when drinking water is safe.
  • If there is water damage, consider hiring a professional water damage cleaning service.
  • Begin your cleanup as soon as possible – washing and disinfecting items that have been touched by floodwater or disposing of items that cannot be saved.
  • Once you’ve gathered necessary documents and evidence of your claim (photos or video), contact your insurance company or agent.

Tips to prepare for a hurricane

Make sure your home meets or exceeds current model building codes for regions often impacted by hurricanes. You may also want to do the following:

  • Talk with your family members about what to do in case of a hurricane. Designate an emergency meeting spot and have a plan for your pets.
  • Show adult and teen family members where electrical, gas and water shut-offs are – and how to turn them off. Make sure the proper tools are nearby.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights and plenty of batteries.
  • Install impact-resistant windows.
  • Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners on your garage door. Or contact the door manufacturer about temporary supports you can easily attach and remove.
  • Make sure your roof covering and sheathing beneath it can resist high winds.
  • Consider replacing gravel and rock landscaping with mulch or shredded bark, which can be less deadly in high winds.
  • Learn hurricane evacuation routes. Figure out ahead of time where to go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

Talk to us

Even with the best preparation, you can still sustain damage from unexpected events like a hurricane. You can reach our claims center any time you need us. You may also Contact an agent today to protect your home with the right homeowners insurance for your needs.


RELATED RESOURCES

FEMA  |  IBHS  |  American Red Cross  | National Weather Service

Need to file a claim? Visit our claims center or call 1-800-421-3535.

Nationwide offers this information to help you make decisions that may help you mitigate your risk. Of course, we can't address every possible risk or guarantee these tips will work for you. However, we hope that you will consider which of these may help you in your efforts to protect your family and yourself.