Hurricane Warnings

A hurricane watch indicates the possibility of hurricane conditions within 36 hours. This watch should trigger your facility’s Emergency Action Plan and initiate protective measures.

A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected in 24 hours or less. By the time a warning is issued, your protective actions should be nearly complete and personnel moved to a safe location.

Steps to Take When a Hurricane Watch Is Issued

  • Activate your facility’s Emergency Action Plan and ensure that copies are accessible off site.
  • Listen frequently to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins on the storm’s progress.
  • Evacuate nonessential personnel.
  • Move fuel and service emergency vehicles and generators inside the building or to a safe location.
  • Inspect storm, roof and floor drains to ensure they are free of debris and fully functional.
  • Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
  • Anchor all equipment stored outside.
  • Brace all signs, tanks and roof equipment.
  • Remove all awnings and lightweight outdoor coverings.
  • Protect vital records against flooding and wind. Elevate all possible valuables off the floor onto furniture and shelving.
  • Secure backup records off site, away from the targeted hurricane area.
  • Ensure an adequate stock of nonperishable food, first-aid supplies, drinking water and other supplies for staff and emergency crews.
  • Check batteries in flashlights and radios.

Steps to Take When a Hurricane Warning Is Issued

  • Listen closely to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins.>
  • Complete preparation activities, such as putting up storm shutters and storing loose objects.
  • Patrol the facility, as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Check for leaks and fire-protection system impairment.
  • Shut off valves when pipes have broken.
  • Complete emergency repairs that are safe to perform.
  • Move to a safe area before you are cut off by floodwater. Use sandbags if necessary.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if told to do so!
  • If you choose to stay in the building:
    • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
    • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
    • In a multiple-story building, go to the first or second floor. Lay on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.

Next: Hurricane Recovery