The moment you flip your calendar around and the date says June 1st, you know it’s the start of one of the most dreaded seasons of the year: hurricane season. Only applicable to people who live on the Atlantic coast, it’s one of the most stressful times of year. Preparing for a hurricane can seem like getting ready for a blind date, and then getting stood up.

In recent years, hurricanes haven’t devastated the Florida coast up to the potential that they can. For almost 10 years we have only gotten tropical storms, no hurricanes. Tropical storms, the less talented younger sibling of the Atlantic storms, are just mini hurricanes. They are not as powerful, and not taken very seriously by a lot of experienced hurricane survivors like most Floridians. However, with Tropical Storm Colin just taking landfall on the first week of the undesirable season, the upcoming hurricane season is said to be one for the history books. With so much hype for hurricane season, we wanted to make sure everyone remembers how to be prepared for the worst.

Step 1: Create an emergency kit

This is something that everyone should have in a safe space in their home. Stock up on 72 hours worth of food and water for each person who lives in your household. Buy more than you need, especially of water. Buy non-perishable food products such as peanut butter, granola bars and canned soups. Remember to put items such as a can opener, utensils, and food for your pets in the emergency kit as well. One of the most important items to pack in your kit is batteries. You will need batteries for a hand crank radio, flashlight and portable cell phone chargers. Also pack local maps of your town, pliers, a first aid kit and a dust mask for safety concerns. Keep all your items in an easily accessible place such as your garage or closet. Store the items in an old camping backpack or box for simple transport.

Step 2: Secure your house

One of the most important steps in being prepared for a hurricane is making your home ‘hurricane proof’. This includes getting hurricane shutters on windows and doors to make sure nothing flies into them in high winds. Also, secure your roof with high wind resistant material. Most house damage in hurricanes comes from roofs flying off houses from strong gusts of wind.

Step 3: Have a plan

Make a plan for what you and your family will do if a hurricane forces you to evacuate. Bring the emergency kit and a pack 72 hours worth of clothes. Figure out where you would go in the result of an evacuation from your home, whether it be another city, state, or just a shelter in your city. Also, when you return home, be prepared to not have power for a couple days. Most minor hurricanes cause power outages and depending on how big the storm is, it could take a couple days to get it back. Buy a generator from your local store and have it ready for use.

Step 4: Talk to your family

Make sure to talk to your family about your emergency plan and where the emergency kit is located in the house. It is always a good idea to keep them informed of any dangers that could happen during the hurricane and the damage that could impact your home.

Although we’re hoping we won’t get any hurricanes for a very long time, it never hurts to be prepared. Know your game plan for situations like this so that, should the need ever arise, you’ll have no problem weathering the storm. In the meantime, stay safe everyone!