Be prepared before a hurricane strikes. Find out 6 vital ways to be ready.

6 VITAL ways to be ready

1. Develop a preparedness plan wellbefore a hurricane actually threatens your area. If possible, make arrangements to stay with the friend or relative who resides closest to your home and who will not have to evacuate.

2. While you’re at it, build a disaster supply kit. Your kit should include enough ready-to-eat nonperishable food and water for three to seven days, along with a handcrank can opener, disposable plates, utensils, blankets, pillows, bed linens, first-aid kit, prescription drugs, flashlight, batteries, fully charged cell phone, corded phone, cash including small bills, credit cards, keys, books, and a watertight container for insurance papers, social security cards, bank account numbers and medical records. You’ll also need pet care items and a full tank of fuel.

3. Select an evacuation destination that is nearest to your home. If ordered to evacuate, do not wait or delay your departure. Keep in mind that the hotels are likely to be filled very quickly in a hurricane evacuation event.

4. Be prepared to wait in traffic. The large number of people who must evacuate will probably cause massive delays and major congestion.

5. If a hotel or motel is your final intended destination during an evacuation, make reservations before you leave. Most hotels and motels will fill quickly. The longer you wait to make reservations, even if an official evacuation order has not been issued, the less likely you are to find vacancies.

6. If you are unable to stay with friends or family and no rooms are available, then go to a shelter as a last resort. Remember, shelters are not designed for comfort and do not usually accept pets. Bring your disaster supply kit with you to the shelter. To find pet-friendly lodging, log onto