Hurricane season has begun: What you can do now to protect your family, home

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Thursday marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This week, 10 On Your Side is helping you prepare for potential impact.

Hurricanes can bring a deluge of water, when ironically you may have none to drink. Clean water is a key element of your survival kit. Emergency managers recommend one gallon per person per day. You should plan for one week.

Stock up on canned and dried foods and don’t forget a manual can opener. A flashlight and batteries are a must when the power goes out.

You’ll also need a first aid kit, diapers if you have little ones and at least a one week supply of any medications you take.

Next, take a look around your yard. Make sure your gutters and roof are in good shape and scope out potential hazards.

“Anything that might come flying through your window of tipping on your house,” warns Chief Meteorologist Don Slater.

He advises removing dead trees and trimming branches now. It’s not just a good idea he said, it could save your life.

“We lost a person on a second floor of a house.”

Eleven-year-old Zahir Robinson died when a tree fell onto his Newport News apartment during Hurricane Irene in 2011.

“If a tree comes down on a second floor, it can do a lot more damage and it can hurt people. So during a hurricane or tornado situation, get your kids off the second floor, ” Slater said.

Flooding is the other big concern.

Virginia Beach Emergency Manager Erin Sutton says in case of evacuation, know where you will go and how you’ll get there.

Store important papers and valuables high off the ground, and if you can move your HVAC system off the ground and the duct work into the attic.

Sutton also can’t stress enough how important it is to stay informed.

“All of the jurisdictions in Hampton Roads have a system. Ours is called VB Alert. You can sign up and you can choose what you get alerted for,” Sutton said.

You can also download the WAVY weather app or pick up the WAVY hurricane guide to get important information at your fingertips.