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Preparing for Hurricane Season 2023: A Comprehensive Checklist for Renters and Homeowners

Hurricane season is a critical period for residents of Savannah, GA, and Chatham County, given the area’s susceptibility to these powerful storms. Running from June 1st to November 30th, hurricane season demands meticulous preparation. This expanded checklist aims to provide renters and homeowners in Savannah and Chatham County with a detailed guide for hurricane preparedness.

General Preparedness

1. Stay Informed

  • Renters & Homeowners: Keep an eye on local news channels like WTOC or WSAV for weather updates. Sign up for emergency alerts from Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) to receive real-time information.

2. Emergency Kit

  • Renters & Homeowners: Assemble an emergency kit with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of water per person per day, first aid supplies, flashlights, and extra batteries. Also include important documents like IDs and insurance papers.

3. Communication Plan

  • Renters & Homeowners: Create a family communication plan. Designate a relative or friend outside the Savannah area as a central contact point. Ensure everyone knows how to reach this person and where to meet up in Savannah or Chatham County if evacuation becomes necessary.

4. Evacuation Routes

  • Renters & Homeowners: Study the local evacuation routes, particularly those leading to I-16, which is a primary evacuation route. Have a map handy and consider alternative routes to avoid congestion.

For Homeowners

5. Home Inspection

  • Homeowners: Hire a professional to inspect your home’s structural integrity, focusing on the roof, windows, and doors. In Savannah’s historic districts, older homes may require special attention to ensure they can withstand strong winds.

6. Secure Outdoor Items

  • Homeowners: Anchor or store outdoor furniture, grills, and planters to prevent them from becoming projectiles. This is especially important for homes near the Savannah River or other water bodies where winds can be stronger.e

7. Install Storm Shutters

  • Homeowners: Install storm shutters or impact-resistant windows, particularly if your home is in areas like Tybee Island, where the risk from storm surges is higher.

8. Check Insurance

  • Homeowners: Review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Make sure it covers hurricane-related damages and flooding, which is a common issue in low-lying areas of Chatham County.

9. Backup Power

  • Homeowners: Invest in a generator and test it regularly. Power outages are common during hurricanes, and a generator can keep essential appliances running.

10. Tree Trimming

  • Homeowners: Trim trees and remove dead branches, especially those near power lines or your home. Savannah’s beautiful oak trees can become hazards during storms.

For Renters

11. Renter’s Insurance

  • Renters: Purchase renter’s insurance that covers water and wind damage. This is crucial for renters in flood-prone areas like the Historic District and the islands.

12. Know Your Rights

  • Renters: Familiarize yourself with Georgia’s tenant laws. Understand what your landlord is obligated to repair and how quickly they must act after a storm.

13. Document Property

  • Renters: Take photos or videos of your belongings and living conditions before the storm. This will be invaluable for insurance claims.

14. Emergency Contact

  • Renters: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including your landlord or property management company, local police, and utility companies.

15. Portable Emergency Kit

  • Renters: Make your emergency kit portable. If you need to evacuate, you’ll want to take essential supplies with you quickly.

Additional Tips for Both

16. Stock Up on Supplies

  • Renters & Homeowners: Don’t forget to stock up on prescription medications, pet food, and baby supplies. Local stores may be closed or depleted for several days.

17. Gas Up

  • Renters & Homeowners: Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full. Gas stations may be closed or inoperable during power outages.

18. Cash on Hand

  • Renters & Homeowners: Withdraw some cash as ATMs and credit card machines may not be operational. Cash can be essential for purchasing last-minute supplies.

19. Local Shelters

  • Renters & Homeowners: Identify local shelters and their pet policies. The Savannah Civic Center often serves as a local shelter but check for the most current information.

20. Stay Calm and Informed

  • Renters & Homeowners: During a hurricane, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors. Continue to monitor local news and CEMA updates for the latest information.

By following this comprehensive checklist, residents of Savannah, GA, and Chatham County can significantly mitigate the risks associated with hurricane season. Preparation is not just a personal responsibility but a community effort. Stay safe and vigilant.


Here’s a supply checklist:

Preparing for hurricane season requires a well-thought-out emergency supply kit. To make it easier for you, we’ve categorized the items you’ll need. This will help ensure that you and your family are well-equipped for any emergency situation.

Personal Hygiene Supplies

  • Bar Soap: For basic cleaning and hygiene.
  • Tissues: Useful for various cleaning and hygiene needs.
  • Floss: Dental hygiene is still important, even in emergencies.
  • Baby Shampoo: Gentle enough for all family members.
  • Hand Lotion: To combat dry skin, especially after frequent handwashing.
  • Sunscreen: Protection from harmful UV rays is crucial.
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrushes: For daily dental care.
  • Feminine Hygiene Pads: A must-have for women.
  • Comb: For basic hair care.
  • Toilet Paper: An absolute necessity.
  • Wash Cloths: Useful for cleaning and bathing.

First Aid Supplies

  • Basic First-Aid Guide: For quick reference.
  • Moist and Antiseptic Towelettes: For cleaning wounds.
  • Latex Gloves: To maintain a sterile environment.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, diphenhydramine, and loperamide.
  • Topical Treatments: Burn cream, sting relief towelettes, hydrocortisone cream, and triple antibiotic ointment.
  • Cough Drops and Earplugs: For minor throat irritations and noise reduction.
  • First Aid Tools: Tweezers, nail clippers, scissors, and a digital thermometer.
  • Wound Care: Waterproof adhesive, gauze rolls, gauze pads, moleskin, band-aids, butterfly bandages, ace bandage, and triangular bandage.

Pet Supplies

  • Collar and Leash: For pet safety and control.
  • Medical and Vaccination Records: Important for emergency vet visits.
  • Extra Food and Water: To sustain your pet during emergencies.

General Supplies

  • Lighting: Glow sticks, flashlight, and liquid candle.
  • Fire Starters: Matches.
  • Warmth and Shelter: Mylar blankets and hand warmers.
  • Communication: AM/FM radio and a whistle with a lanyard.
  • Miscellaneous: Sewing kit, blank notebook, pencils, batteries, zip ties, P-38 can opener, trash bags, N95 dust masks, duct tape, small tarp, paracord, safety goggles, and work gloves.

Food and Water

  • Non-Perishable Foods: Choose foods that your family regularly eats to avoid the stress of introducing new items during an emergency.
  • Water: At least one gallon per person per day for at least three days.

Where to Keep Your Kit

Store your emergency kit in a closet or an interior room that’s easily accessible. This ensures that the kit remains in a temperature-controlled environment and can be quickly accessed during emergencies like hurricanes or tornado warnings. Make sure all family members know its location and contents.

Chatham County Evacuation Zone Chatham County Storm Surge Map