Create an emergency supply kit that includes a first-aid kit, flashlights, a portable radio, batteries, nonperishable food, bottled water, and medical supplies.
For Boston residents, check cityofboston.gov/readyboston to identify the emergency shelter and evacuation route closest to your home.
Inventory personal property for insurance and disaster assistance purposes. Take photos or videos if necessary.
Place important documents and records in a secure place where they will be accessible.
Trim trees and shrubbery, which can fall during the storm and damage cars and buildings.
Cover windows and glass doors with plywood. Mark each piece of wood with a number so that the wood can be saved and easily used again on the same window.
Do not use duct tape on windows; it will not prevent them from shattering.
If you own a boat, remove it from the water or reinforce lines securing it to moorings.
Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, open it as infrequently as possible.
If your freezer is not full, put containers of water inside - this will help the freezer stay cold longer.
If the temperature inside the refrigerator rises above 40 degrees, throw away perishable food. If in doubt whether food has spoiled, throw it away.
Make sure rain gutters and drainage pathways are cleared of debris to prevent flooding.
If you have a pet, make sure to keep records of the most recent vaccinations. Create an evacuation plan for your pet; hurricane shelters may not accept animals. Stockpile pet food.
Fill bathtubs and other large containers with water to be used for sanitary purposes, such as bathing and flushing toilets.
Do not eat food that comes into contact with flood water; do not drink liquids with twist caps if they are in flood water. Those products can become contaminated with water-borne viruses and bacteria.
Tune in to a radio station or news website to find out whether your water is safe to drink after a storm.
If you cannot drink tap water, drink bottled water. Tap water can be boiled, if possible, to purify it. Heat and boil for one full minute and then allow to cool before drinking.
Life-saving drugs can still be taken if the pills are dry. Wet pills should be discarded.
Contact your physician if you are on a medication that needs to be refrigerated and you experience a power outage. Some drugs such as insulin can still be taken if they lose some potency in warmer temperatures.
Other medications that are not vital, like over-the-counter aspirin or skin creams, should be discarded in the event of a flood.
SOURCES: City of Boston, US Food and Drug Administration, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, National Hurricane Center, Rhode Island Department of Health
DEBORAH KOTZ and MARTINE POWERS