It’s a decision most of us never want to have to make: Will you stay or go when a hurricane is heading your way?

Many people along the Gulf Coast are making that decision right now ahead of Hurricane Michael.

Experts says evacuations can take as long as 99 hours.

Here's what you should do before the storm hits, when it hits, and after it hits.

FIRST 24 HOURS BEFORE THE STORM

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  • Identify your safe room. Clear it out except for the essentials. That’s where you’re riding this thing out. The fewer windows the better.
  • Crank down the refrigerator to the coldest temperature. It will help preserve food longer if the power only goes out temporarily.
  • You’ll need water. Fill bathtubs and sinks. You will need enough to flush the toilet and cook.
  • Charge your cellphone. Put your pets on a leash, and in their cage.
  • Gather your important documents in a stormproof container

FIRST 24 HOURS DURING THE STORM

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  • Don’t go outside even if you think it’s over, it could just be the eye of the storm.
  • Don’t mess around with the flood waters. It may look like it’s not a big deal, but it only takes six to 12 inches to take you down or flood your car.
  • If you need evacuation help, put a white sheet on your door or roof so officials know. Be patient, they might not be able to get to you yet.

FIRST 24 HOURS AFTER THE STORM

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  • Take pictures of any damage.
  • Clean up as soon as possible to avoid mold. Wear protective clothing.
  • Don’t make unnecessary calls. Save your cell battery and text when possible.
  • When you have time, replenish your readiness kits and prepare for the next one.

We will continue to keep you posted on the forecast here on the 13WMAZ website and on the free WMAZ mobile app.