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Emergency preparedness checklist

Preparing Your Family for a Hurricane

By: Dr. Amy Hedges, Liberty Pediatrics

The tropics are about to start churning up the potential for severe weather here in Hampton Roads. Are you ready? Planning ahead before a storm hits may help keep your family safe in an emergency. The following tips will help you prepare for whatever blows our way.

Build a Kit

Federal emergency management officials urge families to have on hand the essential supplies needed to manage for the first 10 days following a disaster. Including:

  • A gallon of water per person, per day, for drinking and sanitation purposes.
  • A 10-day supply of non-perishable food for each person in the household. People with special diets and/or allergies, babies, toddlers, and the elderly will need particular attention. Nursing moms may need liquid formula.
  • Be sure to have an extra supply of items like hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, hygienic products, diapers, and wipes.
  • Don’t forget your pets. They will need enough food and water for 10 days. Also, make sure your pet is wearing a collar and has updated identification tags.
  • Additional items to pack in your emergency kit can be found here.

Have a Family Communications Plan

Roads may be impassable and cell phone service may be disrupted during a severe weather event. Identify alternative ways to stay in touch with loved ones. Consider the following:

  • Choose an out-of-town point of contact.
  • Decide on a meeting place in case you and your loved ones are separated.
  • Keep important documents and phone numbers with you at all times.
  • Make sure children know the communication plan and have emergency contacts memorized or saved in a secure location.
  • Identify the closest shelter and make sure all family members know where it is.

Stay Informed

Stay tuned to local media broadcasts before, during, and after the storm.

  • Local media will provide evacuation orders, evacuation routes, and shelter locations.
  • Have a battery-powered radio and extra batteries on hand in case the power goes out.
  • Consider purchasing emergency battery packs for your cell phone as well.
  • Receive weather-related alerts from the US National Weather Service by downloading the FEMA APP at
  • Contact your local emergency management office or your local chapter of the American Red Cross to learn more about the hurricane risk in your community.

Source: Adapted from FEMA’s Hurricane Preparedness Plan

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