Learn more about how to keep yourself and your family safe during a hurricane

When hurricanes strike land, they can wreak havoc on homes, communities — and sometimes — your vacation plans. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.

What Is a Hurricane?

A hurricane, also called a tropical cyclone, is a rotating low-pressure system that forms over tropical or subtropical waters. It’s generally accompanied by severe thunderstorms with strong wind speeds. Heavy rains and flooding are also common.

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Preparing for a Hurricane

  • Reinforce windows by covering them with plywood
  • Secure your outdoor items, like lawn furniture
  • Unplug appliances and turn off propane tanks
  • Turn off refrigerators
  • Find shelter by going to a secure building on high ground
  • Head to the grocery store to stock up on several days’-worth of food and water
  • Pack a kit with first aid items and other essentials
  • If you’re staying home, make sure you have an evacuation plan

Staying Safe During the Storm

  • Remain indoors, even if things seem to calm down. Remember, the storm will resume after the “eye” has passed
  • Stay in a secure room and avoid windows

Safety After the Hurricane Has Passed

  • Avoid standing water, because it might be electrically charged
  • Limit your phone calls. Only use your phone for emergency calls
  • Do not drive: Debris and water make it dangerous
  • If you’re using a generator, only do so when you’re outdoors
  • Avoid downed power lines, and report them immediately to authorities
  • Do not drink tap water until authorities deem it safe
  • Use flashlights instead of candles to limit fire hazards


Find these hurricane safety tips


About Trauma & Emergency Medicine

Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye or in a heartbeat. And when they do, minutes matter. UPMC’s Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care services are ready to provide world-class care, no matter how serious your emergency. All our Emergency Departments have a full-time staff of emergency specialists at the ready 24 hours a day. We use advanced technology to diagnose and treat your condition and coordinate with your doctor to provide the best care possible. We also have specialized trauma care at several of our hospitals. If you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department.