Before the Storm

Suggested Steps to Take

  • Decide on a meeting place away from home where you and your family will gather if you become separated (this will be useful in other types of disasters as well).
  • Decide on an out-of -state friend or family member to be the single point of contact for your family (after a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance). Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
  • Develop an emergency preparedness plan for your family and/or business. Ready NOVA is a user-friendly, online tool specifically designed by Northern Virginia jurisdictions is available to help you develop a plan.
  • Keep a family emergency kit stocked and handy. Include items like flashlights and batteries, battery-operated radio, water, first aid supplies, canned food and can opener, etc.
  • Keep dead or weak branches on trees trimmed back.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to areas that are safe from high winds or flooding. If there is a flood, you may only have minutes to get to safety.
  • Make an itemized list of all your personal property for insurance verification purposes.
  • Monitor your local news and the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) for weather-related information. NWR is broadcasts continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office on warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.
  • Purchase flood insurance. Flood damage to your home and its contents is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. A 30-day waiting period is required for your flood insurance policy to become effective.
  • Secure garbage cans, lawn furniture or anything that could fly around and cause damage.

Familiarize Yourself with the Terminology

  • Flash Floods can develop in a matter of minutes, so if you hear a Flash Flood Warning take action immediately.
  • Flood Watch means that a flood is possible in your area.
  • Flood Warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area

When a Hurricane is Approaching

  • Fill your bathtub with water to use for toilet flushing in case water services are unavailable following the storm.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank. Functional gas stations will be in short supply in a power outage.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one. (Remember, water expands as it freezes, so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water).
  • Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes out.