Before storm season, hurricane belt residents should trim back dead wood, secure rain gutters and spouts and stock wood to cover windows.
When a Hurricane Watch is issued, make sure automobiles are fueled, mobile homes are tied down and supplies are plentiful (batteries, flashlights, bottled water, canned goods, radio, etc.). Windows should be protected.
It is up to individuals to decide whether to evacuate as a hurricane approaches. However, it is recommended to leave if local authorities call for an evacuation. Residents near the coast, in flood plains or in mobile homes should plan to leave every time.
Those choosing to leave should shut off water at the main and power at the fuse box. Unless arrangements have been made for pets, food and water should be left behind (shelters don't accept animals).
Those choosing to ride out the storm should move valuables to upper floors if possible, fill containers or tubs with several days' worth of drinking water, turn refrigerator to coldest setting and stay indoors on the downwind side of house, away from windows.
Beware the eye of the storm. Live power lines, rising water and unstable trees and structures continue to be threats despite the temporary calm.
Once the all-clear is sounded, be wary of high water or power lines when driving. Report damaged water, sewer and electrical lines. At home, check for gas leaks and spoiled food or water.