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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 22:42

7 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane

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Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm, is expected to impact the United States this week when it reaches Florida. At this time, there's no way to know if the storm will impact New England; however, it is hurricane season and we have experienced hurricanes in New England in the past. Before a devastating storm reaches our area, it's a good idea to plan ahead. What can you do to prepare for a potential hurricane? Here's what you need to help you and your family remain safe:

 

1. Prepare a Basic Disaster Supply Kit

  • Water - one gallon of water for drinking and sanitation per person, per day, for at least three days
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Cell phone chargers and portable backup batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps with evacuation locations - find evacuation zone maps


2. Prepare Additional Emergency Supplies

Add the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses, contact lenses, and contact cleaning solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • A sleeping bag or blanket, and pillows for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for season, and sturdy shoes
  • Outwear to protect from the elements
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Trash bags for trash
  • Paper and pencil or pen
  • Cooler for refrigerated food that you want to save in the event of a power outage, plus cold packs from freezer

Kit Storage Locations

You don't know where you will be when an emergency occurs. Therefore, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as a change of clothes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.


3. Create a Family Communication Plan

Each family member should know when and how to contact other family members during a major storm.

  • Discuss with your family how to contact each other in case you become separated during an emergency.
  • Encourage each family member to carry a cell phone along with a portable battery pack.
  • Charge phones prior to the storm.
  • Create and share a contact list of other family members and friends, take copes, and save to the cloud.
  • Take copies of your written plan and distribute to family members.


4. Practice an Evacuation Plan

It is important to have an evacuation plan should you need to leave your home or place of work. Practicing the evacuation plan in good weather will help to prevent a panic situation that results in leaving people, pets and supplies behind -- and it further ensures safety.

  • Identify a safe meeting place, such as the home of another family member, a friend, a hotel or school.
  • Have a ready bag packed with essentials items.
  • Make sure your plan includes your pets.


5. Have a Creativity/Play Plan for Younger Children

Children can become frightened during a major storm; they can also become bored no matter what is going on.

  • Remain calm to help keep your children calm.
  • Have an activity kit ready in case of a power outage, such as books, games, puzzles or other activities.
  • Stock up on non-perishable snacks and beverages.
  • Have smaller flashlights for young hands.
  • Keep to a regular schedule as much as possible during a storm.


6. Plan for Pets and Animals

Don't forget your pets and animals, who can become stressed during storms. A well-thought out plan can help to prevent abandoned or escaped animals who may become lost or sent to a shelter.

  • Remain calm to help keep your pets calm.
  • Locator chips can help to find pets that are frightened enough run away or hide. Keep that information along with other records.
  • Record your pet's license number, if applicable in your area.
  • Stock up on pet medications in advance.
  • Ensure that there is enough pet food and extra water for several days
  • For dogs, plan a relief station that is above potentially flooded areas and away from danger, such as falling trees. You may need to come up with an alternate relief plan for dogs plan during the storm.
  • Don't forget toys and other pet accessories to keep your pets busy and safe.


7. Clear Your Yard and Deck

High winds can send chairs, umbrellas and planters flying causing additional hazards.

  • Store grills, outdoor furniture and other moveable objects indoors.
  • Trim any loose or dangling tree branches near your house. 
  • Secure bicycles and other recreational items.


Additional Preparation Tips: 

  • Establish a safe location within your home that is away from windows and doors.
  • Backup your computer data. Should your computer crash or become damage, you'll be able to restore your data.
  • Turn off computers and other electronic devices and store away from windows and lower levels of your home.
  • Take household inventory - taking photos of larger items and their serial numbers can help as well.
  • Have a copy of homeowners insurance, along with insurance agent and carrier contact information.
  • Make copies of licenses, birth certificates, passports and social security numbers for emergency purposes.
  • Secure portable valuables in water tight containers and store a safe place.
  • Fill your vehicle gas tanks well before the storm to avoid long lines.
  • Fill your gas grill tank, as that could be an alternative for cooked meals and heating water.

 Stay safe during a hurricane by planning ahead.

Source for a portion of the supply lists: Ready.gov

Read 468 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 September 2017 02:29

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