Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 5 Tips for Hurricane Safety

Prepare Your Property

Post-hurricane photographs serve as a dramatic testament to the fact that Mother Nature still really knows how to smack us around, despite our best efforts to build structures she can't demolish.

During the days leading up to a potential hurricane, it's important to prepare your home to up the chances it's able to weather the storm. Plus, if officials say it's OK to stay, you'll be a lot safer when the hurricane hits.

First off, board up all your windows. Storm shutters are best, but if you can't afford them, use 5/8-inch cut-to-fit plywood. Then reinforce your roof by installing straps or clips, and clean out the gutters and downspouts while you're up there. Next, secure any objects lying around the yard, or move them inside. Trim trees and shrubs. If you own a boat, moor it, otherwise it could become one mean projectile.

It's time to move inside. Continue to crank the TV or radio to keep track of official updates and see if anyone's recommending you hit the road. Listen for advisories telling you to turn off appliances and utilities, including propane tanks, although it's usually a good idea to leave the fridge on as long as possible, set to maximum cold and kept closed as much as you can. Bathtubs and any spare containers you have handy should be filled with water. Pitchers and water bottles are for drinking, the bathtubs are for sanitation use.

Once all this is done, it's just a matter of waiting and finding out whether you should stay put, or hit the road.