The 2014 hurricane season is upon us, and it’s never too late to check your readiness in case you are in the path of a storm.

According to the National Hurricane Center, preparation involves several key steps –

It’s a good idea to read over the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s resources for comprehensive guidelines. Here, we will address the major points to help you start thinking about preparedness.

First, collect information about your specific situation:
• Find out if you live in an evacuation area.
• Understand the risks to your home and family from all aspects of the storm, from the surge to the wind.
• Read over what the National Weather Service warnings and watches mean to you and your family.
• If you have more questions, contact your local National Weather Service office.

Second, develop a checklist that you can easily access if you are in a hurry or out of your usual routine. You will also want phone numbers and contact information for local emergency authorities, rescue efforts, hospitals, utility companies and the Red Cross. IT may be good to note on your form which radio stations and television news stations will have information available to you on as many platforms (broadcast, Web, email, etc.) that you can access in case some of them aren’t accessible during the storm.

Third, analyze your own risk with available online resources, including FEMA’s Map Portalto help you understand hazards and for assessing your flood risks.

Now that you’ve assessed your situation and gathered information, it’s time to apply that knowledge to an action plan for safety during hurricane season. Our next post will address those efforts.