How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 storm with 200 mph sustained winds, is expected to hit Mexico's Pacific coast Friday afternoon or evening. Important things to know as you prepare.
  1. Prepare your disaster preparedness kit: food and water
    You should have a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, a three-day supply of food (you might want to include things like canned or dried food and energy/protein bars), and a can opener.
  2. Important things to pack in your kit
    Extra cash, a sleeping bag for each person, contact information for the family, your cell phone chargers and a map of the area.
  3. Your disaster preparedness kit: other useful items
    Don't forget to pack a radio, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, dust mask, towelettes and a wrench or pliers.
  4. Prepare your house
    Board up your windows, use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Reinforce the garage door, bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, clear your gutters of debris.
  5. Plan out for medications
    It's important to have a record -- either a piece of paper or a computer accessible file -- with the names and dosage information of your prescription drugs. Ideally, it should be prepared in advance.
  6. For when the storm hits
    Fill a bathtub with water. Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator. Put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding.
  7. Planning for an evacuation, just in case
    Get a full tank of gas in one car. Go over the evacuation plan with the family and learn alternate routes to safety. Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter.
  8. Preparing your belongings, in case you have to evacuate
    Store important documents -- passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds -- in a watertight container. Have a current inventory of household property.
  9. If you have to evacuate
    Evacuate if ordered and stick to marked evacuation routes, if possible. Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave, and leave a note to say where you are going. If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water
  10. Make sure everyone knows the plan
    Trying to wrangle and organize in the middle of a natural disaster is a terrible idea. Make sure everyone is onboard and understands all plans and procedures.
    Suggested by   @Nicholas
  11. Identify an emergency contact outside of the hurricane zone to update
    In case of power outages or limited means of communication, identify one person that everyone in your family can contact to give and get information about how you're fairing with the storm. If you are evacuating or returning home, be sure to update this person. This can be especially important if many of your loved ones live in the same area but not necessarily the same home.
    Suggested by   @JeanMarie