Operation Hurricane Prepare is designed so that individuals, organizations and community groups can be prepared in the event of this natural disaster. This project guide is for organizers but could easily be adapted to help individuals and families prepare as well.
Hurricanes are notable for their scale, unpredictability or both. A hurricane can leave devastation in its wake, with impacts that are often most severe for people who failed to plan ahead. You probably have friends, family and neighbors who have no plans for how to act when a hurricane is imminent, or how to respond after one has struck.
Note: These activities are presented as steps, but you can choose to do one, some or all, in any order. You can also either organize a group or simply help one neighbor or friend with these ways to prepare. Your efforts, big or small, could save lives.
Step 1: SECURE VITAL DOCUMENTS
A hurricane can erase the vital documents and records of our lives instantly. Organize a group effort to help people in your community have copies of all their important documents available in one place. When you set up a group document duplication event, community members can meet in one central location to make copies quickly and easily. This activity is suitable for business sponsorship, so consider this as you make your plans.
Set up your system to ensure that people can keep track of their materials. Exercise vigilance so documents are not lost, misplaced or left unprotected. In addition to making hard copies, consider advising attendees on how to store information in a secure online location.
What you'll need for the event:
Get the word out:
To invite neighbors and community members, send out an invitation at least 3 weeks prior to the event. A sample invitation is below to help get you started:
JOIN US AT THE GROUP DOCUMENT PHOTOCOPYING EVENT!
Learn how to take the first step in being prepared for a hurricane by securing important documents and identifying other tools to help get your life back in order after an emergency. Bring all your important documents, and we’ll help you make copies of them. To help someone else, bring a friend along!
The members of (group) are invited to a Document Photocopying Event on (date, time). (Consider whether or not an RSVP should be required, especially if anticipating high attendance or if limited space is available for your event.)
For questions, contact (project organizer name) at (phone, email).
Step 2: PREPARE BASIC EMERGENCY SUPPLY KITS
Emergency supply kits should have the essentials to meet someone’s basic needs for a few days. Many people have these items in their homes but have not organized them into a kit. Your team can help people gather supplies into a kit, or even purchase items (possibly with donated funds) and assemble kits to be distributed in the community.
Ideas to get started:
If you choose to buy items for people’s kits:
Step 3: DEVELOP AN EVACUATION PLAN
Ensure that ALL members of the community have a plan that works for them. Create an evacuation plan that considers older friends and neighbors and their specific needs.
An evacuation plan provides a sense of order during an emergency, which can be a chaotic and frightening time. Learn how to create an evacuation plan by inviting a local official or expert on the subject to come speak to your group. Or think local - and lead an evacuation planning event for your own street, neighborhood or subdivision.
At the Event
Step 4: DISTRIBUTE INFORMATION
To help protect community members during and after a disaster, make copies of the Hurricane Prepare Checklists that are best suited for your group, distribute them and ask people to commit to helping someone else get prepared. If your neighborhood has an email listserv, you can also send documents and links electronically. Include a link to http://www.ready.gov/.
Checklists and Tip Sheets include:
VITAL DOCUMENT CHECKLIST
An emergency or disaster can erase the vital documents and records of our lives instantly if we haven’t prepared in advance. Using this Vital Document Checklist, collect all the important papers that apply to you. Make copies and store them in a weatherproof tote — even a large, plastic zip-top bag works. Keep your packet of documents in an emergency supply kit some place easily accessible so that you can get to it quickly in the event you need to evacuate in a hurry.
List your other valuable documents here:
BASIC EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT CHECKLIST
Be prepared for an emergency or disaster by gathering basic supplies you’ll need to endure a crisis that leaves you without utilities, telephone or Internet and will provide nourishment for several days. A good rule of thumb is to have enough supplies to last each person at least three days. Make sure to include any items for people with disabilities and others with access and function needs, including babies. Rotate food and water to ensure nothing has expired and check or replace batteries as needed to keep your kit up-to-date. Remember to prepare for your pets too. For a complete list of supply-kit items and more information on creating a kit, visit www.ready.gov.
The right container will vary in a number of ways, depending on size, weight and storage space available. Ideally, the container you use should be portable, durable and waterproof.
Other essential items:
Important Websites and Phone Numbers to Have on Hand
EVACUATION PLAN CHECKLIST
An evacuation plan provides a sense of order during an emergency, which can be a chaotic and frightening time. In the event of a disaster, listen to local news reports for status updates and evacuation instructions. Follow instructions of your local officials for evacuation procedures and do not wait until the last minute to leave. Before you head out, make sure to check on family, friends and neighbors to ensure that they are taking the appropriate steps for their own safety and security.
For additional tools and information to share with your community about evacuation planning, check out FEMA's free online training module.
Essential items you need to take:
GRAB AND GO CHECKLIST
If you have only moments before evacuating and haven’t prepared a Vital Document Packet or any emergency supplies, grab these items quickly and go! (Note: Use travel routes specified by local authorities. Shortcuts could be impassable or dangerous.)
Essential Items Checklist – Grab and Go!
List your other essentials here:
Ahead of Time
Just Before and During a Hurricane
Fraud and Scams
Important Websites and Phone Numbers to Have on Hand: