10. When in a mandatory evacuation zone, leave as you are told to do. It may be tempting to try to stay in the comfort of your home and wait it out but the decision could do so could end your life.

9. Have a family safety plan. This will cover where your family will go in the event of an evacuation and what you will do if you stay home to wait out the storm. Knowing what to do ahead of time will prevent problems in the moment of urgency.

8. Plan for the power to be out- possibly for days. Have a backup generator, candles and flashlights, non-electric stove or burner for cooking and other supplies that will help you survive without the power.

7. Get important papers and documents ready. Gather them in a safe, water-proof place (plastic, safe, etc) and be sure you know where they are in case you have to quickly evacuate the home.

6. Plan where you will go in the event of evacuation. Will you stay with family, friends, a hotel, or an emergency shelter? Even if you aren’t planning to evacuate yet, you need to know where you will go if you have to.

5. Plan for your pet. Many hotels and emergency shelters do not allow pets so if you have pets, you don’t want to leave them behind. Create a plan ahead of time for what you will do with your pets.

4. Have a hurricane kit with important supplies you and your family will need in the event of a disaster like the current Hurricane Ike.

3. If you stay in your home during the hurricane, board up the windows and doors and always stay downwind in your home.

2. Consider your safety and lives first above physical possessions. If possible, take photos or video of your property and inventory of your belongings for insurance purposes and then focus on your safety. Stuff can always be replaced.

1. Stay inside! No matter what happens or how tempting it is to go out to look at or videotape the storm, always stay inside.

Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of eBooks and thousands of website pages and related content. She has also authored her own books and works as a consultant to other writers, Internet marketers and Internet businesses.

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