Are You Prepared to Evacuate or Stay?
If a hurricane were approaching the Rhode Island coastline,
would you be ready to evacuate or ride out the storm at home?
Rhode Islanders who live near the coast need to be prepared
for either scenario.
- Step 1: Find out if your home is in the storm surge-flooding
zone. Contact your local emergency management office for
- Step 2: Determine where you will go if you are told
to evacuate. Will you go inland to a hotel, to the home
of a friend or relative or to a local public shelter? If
you were advised to evacuate, do you know which route you
would take? Again, your local emergency manager can help
you answer these questions.
- Step 3: Whether you evacuate or stay, take action
to protect your home. Cut back dead trees and limbs and
purchase storm shutters or pre-cut plywood for all your
windows to reduce damage to your home. Consider retrofitting
your garage door by installing horizontal bracing onto each
door panel. High winds that enter through the garage can
blow out doors, windows, walls and even the roof. You may want to purchase flood insurance. Homeowner's policies
do not cover damage from flooding, so a separate flood insurance
policy is essential if you live in an area that could be
flooded. Flood insurance is available from any insurance
agent and requires a 30-day waiting period before becoming
- Step 4: Stock up on non-perishable foods, water,
flashlights and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, battery-powered
radio and other essential items. If you need to evacuate,
make sure you can consolidate these items into a portable
disaster supply kit.
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation
with the National Weather Service and local emergency management
officials, offers the following safety tips to protect lives
and reduce damage before, during and after hurricanes.
Before the Storm
- Know your risk. Consult your local emergency management
office for information on preparedness in your area.
- Identify where to go if you are told to evacuate and the
safest route to get there. Choose several places - a friend’s
home in another town, a motel or a shelter. Remember, public
shelters and many motels don’t allow pets in their facilities.
- Pre-pack a hurricane supplies kit with a three-day supply
of water, non-perishable food, first-aid kit, battery-operated
radio and extra batteries, and other essential items.
- Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio for National
Weather Service reports and severe weather warnings.
- Re-check your supply of plywood, tools, batteries, tarps
and plastic sheeting for roof repairs.
- Cut dead trees and limbs that could fall on your home.
- Make sure you have a current flood insurance policy. Flood
insurance is not typically a part of a homeowner's policy.
A 30-day waiting period is generally required to purchase
flood insurance, so take the time now to visit your insurance
agent to learn more.
- Take pictures of your property before the storm to help
validate your claim and remember to take your policies with
you if you need to evacuate.
When a Hurricane is Approaching
- Listen to your local radio and TV stations and check here
at RI.gov for updated storm information. A hurricane watch
means possible danger; if the danger increases, a hurricane
warning will be issued.
- Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture and other items
that could blow away.
- Fill your car’s gas tank and prepare to evacuate if told
to do so.
- If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.
During the Storm
- If you are not advised to evacuate, remain indoors, away
from windows. If necessary, seek refuge in an interior,
windowless room. Use a mattress to protect you from falling
After the Storm
- Listen to your local radio stations for official disaster
relief information and instructions.
- Be prepared to do without power, telephone or any outside
services for a week or more.
- Watch out for downed power lines, weakened structures,
rodents and snakes, and avoid puddles of standing water.
- Avoid drinking tap water. Eat only foods you are absolutely
sure are safe.
- Be extra careful when handling power tools, gas lanterns,
generators and matches.
- Avoid using candles as a light source. Deadly fires can