Protect your home.
Bring things indoors. Lawn furniture, trash cans, children's toys, garden equipment, clotheslines, hanging plants, and any other objects that may fly around and damage property should be brought indoors.
Leave trees and shrubs alone. If you did not cut away dead or diseased branches or limbs from trees and shrubs, leave them alone. Local rubbish collection services will not have time before the storm to pick anything up.
Look for potential hazards. Look for coconuts, unripened fruit, and other objects in trees around your property that could blow or break off and fly around in high winds. Cut them off and store them indoors until the storm is over.
Turn off electricity and water. Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker, and turn off water at the main valve.
Leave natural gas on. Unless local officials advise otherwise, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on, and it may take weeks for a professional to respond.
Turn off propane gas service. Propane tanks often become dislodged in disasters.
If flooding is expected, consider using sand bags to keep water away from your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a wall one foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
Cover the outside of windows with shutters or plywood. Use shutters that are rated to provide significant protection from windblown debris, or fit plywood coverings over all windows. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking. All tape does is prevent windows from shattering. Using tape on windows is not recommended.
Remember, houses do not explode due to air pressure differences. Damage happens when wind gets inside a home through a broken window, door, or damaged roof.
Protect your valuables.
Move objects that may get damaged by wind or water to safer areas of your home. Move television sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, and easily moveable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home and away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, blankets, or burlap. Wrapping them in plastic is also a good idea.
Make a visual or written record of all of your household possessions. Record model and serial numbers. This list could help you prove the value of what you owned if those possessions are damaged or destroyed, and can assist you to claim deductions on taxes.
Do this for all items in your home, including expensive items such as sofas, chairs, tables, beds, chests, wall units, and any other furniture too heavy to move. Store a copy of the record somewhere away from home, such as in a safe deposit box.
If it's possible that your home may be significantly damaged by impending disaster, consider storing your household furnishings temporarily elsewhere.
Protect your pets
Before the storm. Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations. Have a current photograph of your pet. Remember your pet carrier.
During the storm. Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: proper identification, collar and rabies tags and proper identification on all belongings. Include an ample supply of food, water and food bowls. Include any medications and specific care instructions.