Family Preparedness: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.36.31

While you’re getting your kit and making your family plan, take these steps NOW to be sure you are hurricane-ready.

Set up emergency information sources

  • Social Media.
     “Like” the NJOEM on Facebook or
    Follow us on Twitter.
    Be sure to sign up for Twitter Alerts at the NJOEM account set up page so you can receive a direct notification to your phone whenever NJOEM issues an alert.
  • Reverse 9-1-1. Find out if your community has a “reverse 9-1-1” system or if you can opt-in for email updates from municipal officials.
  • Nixle Connect allows the NJ State Police and the NJOEM to send messages to the public by text/SMS, e-mail, and Internet posts. Register to receive messages by sending a text message with your zip code to 888777 (data rates may apply depending on your plan). You can also register on-line at
  • NJ Alert is a free, voluntary and confidential emergency alerting system that allows NJOEM officials to send e-mail or text messages to cell phones and other email enabled devices during an emergency. Sign up for NJ Alert by logging on to:
  • NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from a station nearest your location. NOAA Weather Radios are typically inexpensive, easily available in stores and can usually be programmed for your specific area. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards
  • TV, radio and newspapers. Continue to monitor these outlets to stay informed of breaking news and continued coverage of emergency events.
  • Cellular Mobile Emergency Alert System (CMAS). The National Weather Service can now send free weather warnings directly to your phone if a hazard is imminent in New Jersey. Check with your wireless carrier to see if your wireless phone is WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) enabled to receive these messages.
  • Connect with your local information sources. Contact your County Office of Emergency Management to learn about the localized information sources provided by your county.
  • Get up-to-date severe weather information:
  • For more detailed advice, check out our Staying Informed page

Know the special dangers from hurricanes and tropical storms

  • Hurricane winds can reach 74-95 mph for a Category 1 storm, to above 155 mph for a Category 5 storm.
  • A storm surge is a dome of ocean water the hurricane pushes ahead of itself. At its peak a storm surge can be 25 feet high and 50-100 miles wide. The storm surge can devastate coastal communities as it sweeps ashore.
  • Floods and flash floods result from the thunderstorms and torrential rains that accompany a hurricane.
  • Tornadoes accompany seventy percent of hurricanes that make landfall.
  • Prepare Your HomeMobile Home or business for hurricane or tropical storm conditions

Make a Plan

  • Find out if you are in a high risk area.
  • Learn what to do if you live in a high rise building or if you live in amult-unit building.
  • Know how you will Evacuate.
  • Know what it means to Shelter-in-Place.
  • Have a family communication plan so family members know how to let others know they are safe and have a plan for reuniting if separated.
  • Register at the American Red Cross Safe & Well website so family members can locate you if you evacuate.
  • Have a cell phone or traditional land line? Have a backup plan if electricity, cell phone towers or utility lines fail.  Be prepared for prolonged problems with phone of all types and internet connected devices.
  • Know how you will contact your utility. If your power is out, you MUST report it to your utility company. Do not assume the utility company is aware that your residence is out.
    The NJ Board of Public Utilities web page lists all utility contact information for the state.

    • Power outages require special planning.
    • Learn about food safety during a blackout.
    • Make a back up power plan if you are medically dependent on electricity with this checklist [pdf] from June Isaacson Kailes.
  • Individuals and Caregivers managing access/functional needs should plan now for a support network, special supplies for preparedness kit and transportation.
    • Consider registering at NJ Register Ready if you medical, mobility and/or any other need that may require additional assistance from emergency responders.
  • Preparedness for Your Pet  and livestock require planning.
    Remember: Shelters do not allow pets, only service animals.
  • Build a Kit. Be sure to include:
    • Special items for children
    • Special medical, durable equipment and/or access/functional needs suppliesneeded to maintain independence for up to 2 weeks.
    • Make a kit for your pets
    • Kit in your car in case you need to evacuate
    • Evacuation and shelter kit in case you evacuate, think about what special supplies you or your family will require if you are in a shelter for 2 weeks.