To prepare for a hurricane, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) encourages all individuals and families to:
Every home and business should have a stocked basic Emergency Kit that contains items and supplies that would help support you and your family during extended power outages or while you cannot get to a store. While some items are commonplace, such as bottled water and food, each kit should be customized to the needs of your family and should include medications and medical supplies, children’s items, and food and supplies for pets. To learn more about what a basic Emergency Kit should include please see our printer friendly checklist: Emergency Kit Checklist
Create A Family Emergency Communications Plan
Develop a Family Emergency Communications Plan in case family members are separated from one another during an emergency. This plan should also address reunification after the immediate crisis passes.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person. During and immediately after a disaster occurs, it is often easier to access a long distance telephone number than a local one. Also, calling outside a disaster area is usually easier than calling into the same area. Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of phone service disruption or congestion.
- Keep a list of important contact phone numbers (particularly if your cell phone is lost or dead). Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person. Children should know their parent/ caregiver’s full name, home address, and an emergency contact number.
- Create a personal support network and a list of contacts that include caregivers, friends, family, neighbors, service/ care providers, and others who might be able to assist during an emergency.
- Designate two meeting areas for family members – one within your neighborhood, and one outside of your community (as an alternate location in case you can't get home).
Create A Plan to Evacuate
Hurricanes may require evacuations, particularly for those who live or work in Hurricane Evacuation Zones. If you live or work in an evacuation zone, you should plan for and be prepared to evacuate during a hurricane as part of your emergency plan. Listen to local and state officials and weather forecasts before and during a hurricane for evacuation information. If evacuations are necessary, local and state officials may use the evacuation zones (Zone A, Zone B or Zone C) to identify areas to be evacuated. Make a Family Emergency Plan in case of evacuation: Where will you go? How will you get there? What will you bring? How will you prepare your home before you leave? To learn more, visit the Evacuation webpage.
Create A Plan to Shelter-In-Place
During hurricanes, if you do not evacuate, you will likely "shelter-in-place". As part of your emergency plan, consider what you would need or would need to do in advance of sheltering in place. This includes building an Emergency Kit and Preparing Your Home and Property for a Hurricane. For more information and considerations, see MEMA Shelter in Place webpage.
Know what potential risks your community and neighborhood are susceptible to in a hurricane: Know Your (Evacuation) Zone. Sign up for your community's emergency alerting system to get local information.Carefully monitor the media and follow instructions from public safety officials as a storm approaches. Be aware of severe weather warnings and watches, which can be obtained from media sources, the National Weather Service, a NOAA all-hazards radio, and Massachusetts Alerts. 2-1-1 is the Commonwealth’s primary telephone call center during times of an emergency and is able to provide information on emergency resources and is free and available 24 hours a day, confidential, multilingual, and TTY compatible. Learn more about how to Be Informed during a hurricane.
- Ask your local emergency management director about local public shelters and planned community evacuation routes.
- If you do not have them, consider obtaining health and life insurance to provide protection in case of a disaster. See the Preparing Your Home and Property for a Hurricane webpage for information on obtaining property insurance and document protection.
- Prepare your family for storm related power outages. Tropical storms and hurricanes have left hundreds of thousands of people without power for days or weeks. See MEMA's Power Outages During Warm Weather webpage for tips and information.
- Fuel your automobile. Service stations may be closed during and after the storm. If you do not have a car, make arrangements for transportation with friends, relatives, or with your local Emergency Management Office.
- Prepare your family for a hurricane using your cellphone, computer and other technology by visiting our Use Technology to Get Ready for Emergencies webpage.
- Plan for your pets before a hurricane occurs. Consider where you may bring them if you need to evacuate and have some pet supplies as part of your emergency kit. Lear more about how to prepare your pets for emergencies on our Pets and Animals in Emergencies webpage.