Hurricane Prep Checklist: Everything You Need to Stay Safe

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated January 11, 2022
Father and son make house preparations for upcoming hurricane
Lisa F. Young -

Everything you need to check off your hurricane preparedness prep list

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You can’t control the weather, but you can control how prepared you are for a severe storm. From an escape route to emergency cash, creating a plan will alleviate stress and help you and your family weather the storm with ease. Use our hurricane preparedness checklist to get started. 

Step-by-Step Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Getting your family on the same page about what to do should a hurricane strike is critical. That’s where a checklist to help you prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes can help.

Follow this guide to prep your home, from readying your yard to filling your “go” bags. With this checklist, you can handle hurricane season with a greater sense of security. 

Prep Shopping Lists

Detail photo of an emergency checklist, flashlight, batteries and water bottles
fstop123/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Stock your home with what you need to get through a tropical storm or hurricane. Make a regular inventory to remove expired items and replenish your supplies.

Having the following items on your hurricane prep checklist can help you get through a bad storm that has you stuck at home:

Food and Water

  • Store a 7-day supply of 1-2 gallons of water per person

  • Stock a 7-day supply of non-perishable or semi-perishable food items (peanut butter, bread, potatoes, apples, onions, canned goods, protein bars)

  • 7-day supply of dry pet food

  • Camp stove

  • Propane and/or charcoal

  • Cooler

  • Disposable or travel utensils (plates, forks, knives, cups, bowls, napkins)

  • Salt & pepper

  • Aluminum foil

  • Garbage bags

Medical and Personal Supplies

  • Store a 2-4 week supply of any medical prescriptions

  • Pain reliever (aspirin and non-aspirin options)

  • Backup glasses or contact lenses

  • Diapers 

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Antibacterial wipes

  • Hand sanitizer

  • First aid kit (plastic bandages, alcohol wipes, tweezers, allergy medicines, upset stomach medicine, burn ointment, gauze, and antibiotic cream)

Other Necessities

  • Flashlights, 1 per person

  • Flashlight bulbs and batteries

  • Water containers

  • Portable TV

  • Portable radio or weather radio

  • Tool kit (good to include a hammer, nails, and pliers at minimum)

  • Duct tape

  • Can opener

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Plastic tarp

  • Protective headgear and eye gear

  • Whistle

  • Tree saw

  • Home generator and fuel

  • Rain gear

  • Matches or lighter

  • Outdoor extension cords

  • Bug repellent

  • Sunscreen

  • Pet medication

  • Pet crate or carrier

Hurricane Emergency Family Plan

In case of a hurricane, everyone you live with needs to be on the same page. That’s why a family escape plan everyone knows is a must. This means assigning prep tasks ahead of time and sharing other critical information.

Make sure everyone knows where to find important items like personal documents and their “go” bags. Use the following hurricane prep checklist to create a plan for your family to follow in the event of an approaching hurricane. 

Have Several “Go” Bag Options

Having one go-bag at your home is smart, but smarter still is having multiple go-bags prepped at different locations.

  • Smaller emergency packs (containing things like a first aid kit and a utility tool) are good for keeping inside purses and backpacks during the school or workday. 

Plan Escape Routes

One escape route is good, but go the extra mile to cover your bases.

  • Plan an escape route using a paper atlas (your GPS may not be reliable during a storm). Make sure to keep the atlas in a dedicated place.

  • Plan escape routes from other locations—from school, work, the grocery store, etc.

  • Keep hazards in mind while planning: Is there a bridge you usually cross that could close? A country road that may wash out? Plan alternate routes just in case.

Keep Phones Charged

While cell phones may not work during a hurricane, it’s important to keep them charged should you have a signal and need to use it.

  • Provide each family member with a solar-powered charging device.

Prep Personal Documents

Make sure to take the documents that matter the most with you when you leave your home.

  • Take your passport, birth certificate, social security card, and any other important medical or personal documentation.

  • Spare yourself the stress by keeping your documents all in one easy-to-reach, water-tight sealed box or file so you can snatch it up on your way out the door.

Stock Emergency Cash

ATM cards and checks aren’t always accepted. Be prepared by having a stash of cash on hand.

  • Keep between $100–$300 in cash in case of an emergency.

  • More than $300 in cash on your person can be risky in case of loss or theft.

Make Backup Keys

Make sure you have two backup sets of keys for your home and for your vehicles. Things get lost in high-stress situations. Knowing you have more than one set of keys should something go wrong prevents even more stress.

Assign Communication Roles

Because there is no way of knowing if landlines and/or wireless phones will be down, designate an emergency contact (and a backup) who live in a different part of the country (but in the same time zone) that you do.

Make them responsible for communicating whatever information there is to share, as it is available. Delegating one person with this task saves you time on the phone and from potential confusion.

Know Evacuation Orders

If an evacuation order is issued, leave prepared and do not go back until you’re told it’s safe to do so. These orders are given to save lives, yours as well as the rescue workers tasked with aiding others during hurricanes.

Prep the Yard, Plumbing, and Garage

You have stocked up and implemented a family plan for what happens in case of a hurricane evacuation. Now, it’s time to focus on preparing your home for potential storm damage caused by weather emergencies.

Your hurricane yard prep checklist should include:

  • Remove hard mulch (fast wind makes it dangerous)

  • Trim trees and bushes

  • Remove or reinforce outdoor planters, garbage cans, furnishings

  • Restock yard clean-up supplies (garbage bags, rakes) 

Tip: Buy and install a backflow prevention system for your home’s plumbing. This keeps the water building up during storms from flooding into your home’s sewer system and covering your home in raw sewage. 

Prep Your Home’s Exterior

Close-up of a window with wooden shutters
Raquel Perez Garrido / EyeEm/EyeEm via Getty Images

Next up is tackling your home’s exterior. All it takes is a few simple tasks to make sure the outside of your home is prepared for hurricanes. 

  • Inspect your roof for damaged shingles or visible holes

  • Caulk any holes in doorways or windows

  • Reinforce your doors 

  • Inspect, repair, and reinforce your window shutters

Roof maintenance is a key component of hurricane prep. 

“To prevent leaks, homeowners should inspect their roofs annually and right before and after a major storm such as a tornado, hurricane, flood, or snowstorm,” says Eric Gonzalez, president of Regions Commercial Roofing in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX.

Contact local roofing and contracting professionals in your area for multiple quotes for a hurricane preparedness assessment.

Prep Your Home’s Interior

Hurricanes aren’t just a threat to the outside of your home. They can cause damage on the inside, too. Prevent it by covering your bases and being prepared.

  • Get roof trusses (the beams supporting your roof) reinforced

  • Move electronics away from windows

  • Secure heavy furniture

  • Inspect and repair your windows to prevent water from coming in

Preparation = Peace of Mind

Hurricane season can be scary, but being prepared is half the battle. Don’t wait for a disaster to strike; prepare today so you can worry less tomorrow. Keep this hurricane prep checklist handy to ensure you have peace of mind year-round.

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