Crucial Steps to Take Before Hurricane Dorian Arrives

nailing boards across a window

Natural disasters can strike at any time --- some occur in an instant while others give us time to prepare. While communities in some coastal states are disadvantaged by their location during Hurricanes, the good news is that prediction models can accurately pinpoint the moment of impact days in advance.

The days and hours leading up to landfall are critical. As Hurricane Dorian bears down on mainland United States, safety should be a top priority, and those in the storm’s path should be prepared to evacuate or shelter in place for up to a week.

To help you prepare, MMI and Project Porchlight, our post-disaster financial recovery program, suggest the following steps in advance of Dorian’s landfall.

Have a Plan

  • Know your zone and follow evacuation orders – they save lives.
  • Visit Ready.gov to help organize your countdown to the storms predicted impact.
  • Have an evacuation plan – know where you’re going to go and let your loved ones know where you will be if you have to evacuate.
  • Remember that not all shelters take pets. If you have pets, have a plan for them too.

Stock Up

  • Have cash on hand. ATM’s, credit, debit, and ApplePay/virtual wallets frequently do not work in the immediate aftermath of a storm, so be prepared to pay for your needs in cash.
  • Fill your gas tank.
  • Have a change of clothes and a set of emergency supplies in your vehicle ready to go.
  • Be ready to take shelter for 7 days. Restock your preparedness kit.
  • Make sure you have a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Make sure you have enough non-perishable food for 7 days (and at least one can opener)
  • If you have pets, have 7 days of food for them too.
  • Set aside 7 gallons of drinking water per person in your household (don’t forget to set aside more if you have pets).
  • Refill prescriptions and make sure you have enough for 14 days.

Complete the Necessary Prep Work

  • Take pictures of your house, outside and inside, including inside of drawers, closets, and other storage areas.
  • Gather your documents and keep them with you in the event of an evacuation. Put them in a water-safe place (even just a zip lock), and take pictures of them just in case you’re separated from them. Back the photos up on cloud-based storage.
    • Important documents include: birth certificate, passport, social security cards, military ID, immigration documents or visas, pet ID tags, pet vaccination tags, health insurance cards, home/rental insurance documents, flood insurance documents, legal documents like marriage certificates and deeds to your home or car, recent utility bills with contact information for your utility companies, recent mortgage statement with contact information for your mortgage company, and a list of your other bills, account numbers, and contact information.
  • Remove debris or furniture from outside of your home.

Stay Connected to Latest News and Updates

  • Plan your communications – make sure your loved ones know how you will try to contact them and who can help spread the word that you’re safe after the event.
  • Turn on the local news or weather to stay abreast of changes.
  • Have an emergency AM/FM radio to use to listen to communications throughout the storm (hand crank radio or battery powered with fresh batteries).
  • Download the FEMA app from the Apple, Android, or GooglePlay store and turn on notifications.

Next Steps

Once the storm has passed, assess your situation, follow our recommended steps for regaining financial stability, and become familiar with the available support programs in place for immediate and long-term disaster relief.

If you find it difficult to find your footing after the disaster, Project Porchlight can provide free objective advice and support to accelerate your recovery and get you back to normal.

Tagged in Disaster recovery, Helpful resources

Kate Bulger is Director of Business Development at MMI and manages the partnerships of MMI’s post-disaster financial recovery services.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.