Have a reputable engineering firm inspect the building, including the foundation, to determine if the building can withstand the erosion and battering of water, wind, and waves that a hurricane brings. If the foundation is safe and the building is sound, then residents can consider staying unless local safety officials recommend evacuation. If the safety of the building is in doubt, then all occupants must plan on going to a shelter. If your building is structurally sound, it may be used for vertical evacuation.
Organize a group of responsible residents to develop a plan that will:
- Monitor the hurricane's course using information from NOAA Weather Radio and local officials.
- Set up guidelines for the safety of cars.
- Provide for emergency power in case water floods the building.
- Make certain that elevators are not operated during the storm.
- Locate a safe area for the occupants to congregate, encouraging them to stay away from windows and to wedge patio doors to prevent the vibration from ripping them loose.
- Consider providing shelter for other people in the area who might be trapped when evacuation routes are closed by the effects of the approaching hurricane.
- Provide each floor with a floor captain or captains who have been educated in hurricane preparedness and evacuation procedures and are able to instruct the occupants of their floor on what to do in the event of a hurricane.
- Know who your floor captain is. Listen to his or her suggestions.
- Be familiar with the location of all exit stairways. Count how many steps you are from the door to the exit door in case the lights are out in the hall.
- Do not use the elevator.
- Choose a location outside the building where members of your family will meet if asked to evacuate.
- Rehearse your evacuation plan; it may save lives during a hurricane threat.
- Remove all loose items from your terrace or patio.
- Close and lock all windows, sliding glass doors, and shutters. If you do not have shutters, tape the glass in an "X" fashion with cloth-backed tape. Glass that is coated with a plastic sunscreen is already somewhat protected.
For more information on disaster preparedness and recovery visit the NC Disaster Information Center.
Adapted from Evacuation III - Evacuating High Rise Buildings, Institute of Foods and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, by Extension specialists at North Carolina State University.
Publication date: June 3, 2014
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