Plan & Prepare
Family Preparedness: Hurricanes:
What To Do When a Hurricane or Tropical Storm is Approaching
1. Pay Attention To Weather Forecasts
Throughout Hurricane Season, it is a very good idea to pay attention
to weather forecasts.
Meteorological advances make it possible for emergency planners
to stay a few days ahead of what a Hurricane or Tropical Storm is
predicted to do. For this reason, people in certain at-risk areas
may be directed to Evacuate a day or two before the storm is expected
By paying attention to weather forecasts on your local news stations,
you will have a clearer sense of when an order to Shelter-in-Place
or Evacuate is likely to be given for your area.
2. Listen For Official Instructions
When a Hurricane or Tropical Storm is approaching the East Coast,
your local, county and State emergency management officials will work
with the National Weather Service to track the storm and determine
whether it will become a threat to New Jersey .
A few days before the storm reaches shore, your local, county or State
officials may decide it is necessary to order you to Shelter-in-Place or
When they make that decision they will notify your neighborhood.
They will do this via Emergency Alert System messages on local radio
and TV. They may also alert entire areas via community notification
systems such as “Reverse 911,” which sends messages to home
telephones. Officials may even travel with bullhorns in certain areas.
When you receive an official order to Shelter-in-Place or
Evacuate: Take that order seriously and ACT IMMEDIATELY!
(Follow these links if you do not know what it means to Shelter-in-Place or Evacuate.)
3. While You Are Waiting To Receive Official Instructions
If a Hurricane or Tropical Storm is approaching but you have not received
official instructions to Shelter-in-Place or Evacuate, take the following
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for
storm progress reports.
- Check the items in your Emergency Kit and review your Emergency
- Be sure you have any necessary prescription medications available.
- Fuel up your vehicle.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys,
and garden tools. Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings . Open
only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles,
and cooking utensils.
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container
on the highest level of your home.
- If you own aboat,moor it securely or move
it to a designated safe place. Use rope or chain to secure boat
to trailer. Use tiedowns to anchor trailer to the ground
As the storm continues to approach:
- Begin Sheltering-in-Place , even if you have not been
told to do so. Be ready to Evacuate, in case you are directed
to do so.
- For your safety, the safety of emergency responders on the
roads, and the safety of those who may already have been told
to evacuate due to dangers in their area:
- DO NOT evacuate until the residents in your area are directed
to do so by Public Safety Officials .
- If and when Public Safety Officials do order you to evacuate: Take
that order seriously and ACT IMMEDIATELY.
- Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television
for official instructions.
- Avoid elevators.
- Stay inside, away from windows, skylights, and glass
- Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid
open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power
surge when electricity is restored.
Evacuation Orders: Mandatory Vs. Voluntary
Emergency Management officials in New Jersey have the authority
to direct Voluntary Evacuations, or to order Mandatory
If you are told to evacuate, whether the order is Voluntary or
Mandatory, you should take that order seriously and act immediately.
The penalties for failing to comply with a Mandatory Evacuation
Order include possible fines or imprisonment.
Failure to follow a Mandatory Evacuation Order means placing
your life in severe danger. It also means stranding yourself in
an area that will most likely not have access to food, water
or basic services for an extended period of time.
If you New Jersey resident on a Barrier Island, a Coastal
Community, a Flood-Prone Area or a Mobile Home Park,
you are at much greater risk during Hurricane or Tropical Storm
n all likelihood you will be the first to receive an evacuation
order when these storms are approaching New Jersey . You should plan