How to Prepare Your Family and Home for a Hurricane

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(Lindenwold, NJ) – The Camden County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is offering residents advice on how to prepare their families and homes this hurricane season.

“We have already witnessed one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent memory, and unfortunately it’s not officially over until November 30,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Camden County OEM.  “Now is a good time to review your own storm readiness and preparation. Our Camden County Office of Emergency Management has practical guidance for you and your family.”

It is important to remember that a disaster can strike at any time, and it is important to prepare in advance for the safety of yourself and your family. To prevent panic and confusion, making decisions prior to a disaster, such as creating a family disaster plan and preparing a disaster kit, should be a priority.

What to Include in a Family Disaster Plan

Discussing with family members how to respond to a disaster can result in clear-thinking and effective actions. In this discussion, plan to address:

Escape Routes: Draw a floor plan of your house. Use a blank sheet of paper for each floor. Mark two escape routes from each room. Make sure children understand the drawings. Establishing a place to meet in the event of an emergency should be determined.

Family communications: Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you will communicate in different situations.

Utility shut-off and safety: In the event of a disaster, you may be instructed to shut off the utility service at your home. Knowing how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity in your house may prevent any potential damage.

Insurance and vital records: Obtain property, health, and life insurance if you do not have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards.

Special needs: If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency. Find out about special assistance that may be available in your community. Register with the office of emergency services or the local fire department for assistance so needed help can be provided.

Caring for animals: Animals also are affected by disasters. Make sure your pet has proper ID and licenses. Keep an ample supply of food and water, as well as any medications and materials to take care of waste. Microchipping your pet is strongly recommended in case your pet gets separated.

Safety Skills: It is important that family members know how to administer first aid and CPR and how to use a fire extinguisher.

What to Include in a Disaster Kit

Here are the most important items for your Disaster Kit. Stock up and store where you can get to them quickly.

Replenish for freshness:

  • Medicines: Keep an updated list of family medicines and dosages. Keep two weeks supply of prescription medicines.
  • Food: Keep enough food to feed the whole family for three to seven days. Choose foods that do not need refrigeration.
  • Drinking water/containers: 1 gallon of water per person for drinking water, plus water for cooking and washing (minimum of 7 days). Stock up on cases of bottled water at home and office in case there is a “boil water” order.
  • Infant items (medicine, sterile water, diapers, ready formulas, bottles), if needed.

Stow until needed:

  • First aid book and kit.
  • Flashlights, portable radio, and batteries.
  • Plastic tarp, screening, tools and nails.
  • Clean-up supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, and paper towels.

If you evacuate you should take:

  • Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattresses.
  • Extra clothing, shoes, and personal hygiene items.
  • Quiet games, books, and playing cards.
  • Important papers and irreplaceable keepsakes (driver’s license, medical information, insurance policies, property inventories, photographs.

Prepare your home:

  • Secure all lawn furniture, trash cans and outdoor decorations
  • Check your sump pumps to make sure they are operational
  • Stock your home with water, non perishable food supplies and medication 
  • Locate batteries, flashlights and portable radios
  • Identify any additional supplies specific to your family’s needs 

 “Storms with strong and damaging wind gusts bring the threat of power outages lasting from a few hours to a several days depending on the damage,” Young said. “During these times, please refer all calls and inquiries about your service to your respective power companies.”

 As always, please use 911 for emergencies only.  All non-emergencies should be referred to your local 7 digit non-emergency numbers.

Camden County will provides regular updates in advance of and during storms affecting our area at and on social media.