Hurricanes: Before, During & After

Two fallen trees leaning against a house

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November. The best way to protect yourself and your family in case of a hurricane is to follow these steps:

  • Identify a safe space on lower floors but not the basement; evacuate when instructed by authorities.
  • Turn around, don’t drown – avoid flood waters.
  • Prepare for secondary risks such as flooding, landslides and damaged buildings.

Before

  • Find out if you live in an area where hurricanes could happen and sign up for local alerts.
  • Know the difference between a hurricane warning and a hurricane watch:

    • hurricane warning means a hurricane is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Evacuate if advised to do so.
    • hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Stay alert for more information.
  • Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house.
  • If you live on the coast or in a low-lying area near the coast, be ready to move inland or to higher ground. High winds can create large waves, which may become storm surges when they reach the shore.
  • Be prepared for power outages with sufficient food, water and medications. 

During

  • Stay informed by listening to the latest warnings and advisories on the radio, television, or the Canadian Hurricane Centre website.
  • Secure everything on your property that can be blown around or torn loose.
  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • Turn around - don’t drown! Do not drive through flooded areas.
  • Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately. Do not go down to the water to watch the storm.
  • Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  • If the eye of the hurricane passes over, there will be a lull in the wind lasting from two or three minutes to half an hour. Stay in a safe place on the main floor but not in the basement during this time. Remember once the eye has passed over, the winds will return from the opposite direction.

After

Continue to take precautions and listen to and follow directions from local authorities.

  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions. 
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • Be prepared for secondary disasters such as flooding, landslides and building damage. 
  • If you suspect your home is unsafe, do not enter. Rely on the professionals to clear your home for re-entry, if you are unsure. 
  • Stay away from damaged areas and fallen power lines. Watch out for debris such as sheet metal, glass or other sharp material. 
  • Do not use water that may have been contaminated. Throw out food that may have been contaminated, including from refrigerator and freezers. 
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when cleaning up. 
  • Examine your walls, doors, staircases, and windows for damage.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims. 
  • Check with local authorities on how to properly dispose of damaged items from your home.

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