FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2012) -- Surviving a hurricane starts months, sometimes years before the first raindrop falls on your town.

It's all about preparation before the hurricane strikes, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the Fort Rucker Information Operations Center have a few tips to help you prepare for a hurricane.

The first thing is to make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. Windows are usually the most delicate part of the structure. Outside objects picked up by strong winds can break glass, creating dangerous airborne debris inside your home. If you have shutters on your house, try to close them. There are decorative shutters on the market that will do you no good in a severe storm.

Tape will not prevent windows from breaking. If you do not have shutters, a second option is to board up windows with 5/8' marine plywood. Like all these tips, this is something that has to be ready once the storm arrives. It's too late to head to the lumber store when a hurricane warning is issued. Get the wood, cut it to fit, and store it out of the way just in case.

FEMA also suggests installing straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage. A strong roof will also protect you from other types of severe weather.

Be sure to maintain your yard. That limb that fell this spring could become a wrecking ball if picked up by 150 mph winds. Also, trim the branches on all your trees and shrubs. Gutters and downspouts are there to keep water from pooling around your home. Keep them clear of clogs and flowing well.

That fishing boat looks heavy to you, but to a hurricane it looks like a toy to be tossed around like a beach ball. Make sure you have adequate straps and ropes to tie down outside objects if a hurricane is approaching.

The last FEMA recommendation is to build a safe room. A safe room does not have to be expensive or something you designed your house around. A safe room can be as simple as a central closet in your home that you install a lock on the inside. Practice getting to the safe room with your Family until everyone knows how to get there in the dark. Think about what you may need after the storm and put it in a bag inside the closet. An old pair of shoes might become priceless to you after rushing to your safe room barefoot and in your pajamas.

Willie Worsham, Fort Rucker duty battle captain, suggests everyone have an emergency bag in your safe room.

"Your kit needs to contain a battery-operated radio, a weather radio, flashlight, clean water and something to eat," he said. A good source for the contents of a kit can be found at

Worsham added that Fort Rucker will broadcast information for the installation on 1640 AM Radio in case of a disaster.

Worsham further advised everyone in the Fort Rucker area to visit to learn more on how to prepare for a weather disaster and to sign up for the free notification service CodeRED at

"Army Ready is an excellent program," he said. "It gives you tips on what to do in an emergency."